China celebrates the start of another year based on the Chinese calendar. The celebrations begin with the first full moon between the days of 21st January and 20th February and last for fifteen days. This year the 1st day was on February 5th.
The celebrations are grand and are conducted all over the world, anywhere with a substantial population of migrated Chinese. In China the day marks a new start and respecting the past. The Chinese pray to the deities and the ancestors and appreciates their family and family bond by sharing a common dinner. It is a huge festival and holiday for the people of China.
For the rest of the world it looks like a celebration of colors and art forms. The vibrant costumes and the energetic dances bring a festive mood. Children and their families dress up as different animals from Chinese myths and dance with the great dragon dancers. The festival is celebrated in different ways in different places and all these places make it look very happening.
The best places where one can truly enjoy the Chines New Year are not in China, given that pretty much everything closes for the celebrations. Similarly countries like Vietnam take their Tet celebrations seriously.
Our suggestions for places where you can appreciate the Chinese New Year are: –
1. Hong Kong
Whilst Hong Kong is now a part of China under the 1 country, 2 systems arrangements it retains much of its colonial tradition. Most restaurants and supermarkets will still be open and public transport functions as normal. The fireworks at Midnight on the 2nd day of the new year are the biggest of the year and can be seen from anywhere with a view of the Harbour. Whilst the flower market begins about 2 weeks before New Year and finishes on new year’s eve.
The whole of London celebrates the Chinese New Year with great enthusiasm. Central London has the grand parades and the extravagant stalls and dances while West London has a more family friendly environment with children dancing in different costumes and activities like calligraphy workshops.
Visiting London during the Chinese New Year makes one see the festival in a completely new light and surroundings.
The streets of Paris are flooded with giant floats and dragon dances, with the highlight being the huge showcase of martial arts. The sidewalks are filled with people watching the floats and dancers.
4. New York
Chinatown and Little Italy witness ear splitting firecrackers and cultural themed parties. The main parties are on the streets with delicious food stalls that will make your mouth water. The museums offer special tours through their Chinese exhibits and some streets enjoy the blend of classical and Chinese music that is performed at the New York Philharmonic.
5. San Francisco
Holds the greatest celebrations where the people enjoy food stalls and cultural workshops. Many stalls teach the art of making kites and calligraphy.
The two major events in San Francisco on Chinese New Year are the Flower Fair and the Chinatown Community Street Fair. The people enjoy a showcase of Chinese culture and grandeur, with the 29- segment dragon as the final boom before the celebrations end with the Chinese floats combined with the American styled marching bands.
The great fusion of Chinese culture in different places across the world can be seen best during Chinese New Year. Wherever you spend yours we wish a healthy and wealthy year of the Pig
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