The Year of the Monkey may have begun on the 8th of February, but celebrations are far from over. For those of you that still want to join in on the festivities, these are some of the very best places around the world for celebrating Chinese New Year.
China is, of course, the number one place to go if you really want to go all out to celebrate Chinese New Year. While most people in China’s big cities head home to smaller towns for the holiday, creating the largest annual human migration in the world, Beijing has a population of over 20 million residents, meaning that the city is a lively one to spend Chinese New Year. The city gets blanketed in red decorations, and temple fairs put on traditional shows, complete with authentic food stalls serving Chinese New Year specialities. This really is the mother of all Chinese New Year celebrations, and is definitely the city to visit if you want to experience festivities at their most authentic.
San Francisco, USA
Between the colors and events found in San Francisco’s Chinatown and the festivities hosted throughout the city, San Francisco’s Chinese New Year celebrations are some of the biggest and boldest that you will find outside of Asia. The two giant markets selling a variety of goods are a joy to explore, while the food stalls serving up authentic bites make tasty stopping points as you wander around. Visitors can expect to see 100 martial artists wearing a massive 268-foot dragon costume, acrobats dancing around the streets, stilt walkers taller than you’ve ever seen, and marching drumming bands giving the city a whole new rhythm, and, to top it all off, the spectacular sight of 600,000 exploding firecrackers. Another highlight of the holiday is the illuminated night parade, which is not only one of the few night parades in the US, but has also been named as one of the top ten parades in the world.This is the largest Asian cultural event in North America, and it never disappoints, earning itself such a reputation that it is now officially sponsored by Southwest Airlines.
Sydney has quite an advantage over other cities when it comes to their Chinese New Year celebrations, as the days are still warm in the city at this time of the year, meaning that visitors need not worry about being outdoors in the cold. Over 600,000 visitors travel to Sydney for Chinese New Year each year for the variety of events that are hosted around the city. From a variety of art exhibits to a twilight parade to traditional dragon boat races, it is no surprise that the city is so popular for this holiday. You will also find smaller celebrations within different areas of the city, such as in Thai Town and Koreatown.
It does not matter where in the world you live, as you are likely to be able to find a Chinese New Year celebration near you. Even if they may not be as extravagant as the ones mentioned above, they will still give you a true taste of the holiday, as well as the invaluable experience of immersing yourself in another culture.