How to Celebrate Lunar New Year Around the World
While some of us have already wrapped up our New Year plans, the festivities are just getting started for many.
The Lunar New Year happens in between late January and February, recognizing an animal from the zodiac system. This year, Lunar New Year is January 28.
From the vibrant parades to teams of lion dancers taking the streets, there is plenty to do. This year we celebrate the Year of Rooster; we have your travel guide on how to celebrate the Lunar New Year in different countries across the globe.
The colorful city of Bangkok is home to one of the most vibrant Chinatowns in the world and is one of the oldest parts of the city located Samphanthawang district. Yaowarat Road is the center of the district, which is also known for its night food tours. Be prepared to work your way through the hectic crowds and wear red to be a part of the party. Homes and shops along the road are decorated with the red lanterns in honor of the events. It's certainly the place to be during Chinese New Year.
What to do: Visit the Lengnoeiyi Temple on Charoen Krung street to pray for some good fortune and the Dragon Flower Temple for some beautiful views of the traditional garden. Make sure to attend the Lantern Festival that occurs the following and head to the dragon parade on New Year’s Day.
New York, NY
Located in lower Manhattan is the Big Apple’s Chinatown, a popular attraction for tourists and a favorite shopping destination for locals. Besides the hundreds of delicious Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, and Asian fusion restaurants, there’s plenty to keep you busy in this part of the city.
What to do: Before the Lunar New Parade and Firecracker ceremony begin, head to Carma Asian Tapas in the West Village for $1 dumplings. If you’re a lover of the arts, the New York Philharmonic is hosting their annual Chinese New Year Celebration at Lincoln Center.
Lima, Peru, is home to one of Latin America’s largest Chinese communities. Ten to 15 percent of the city’s population is reported to have Chinese descent. While their Chinatown is just a small enclave known as Barrio Chino isn’t as big as it’s international counterparts, it doesn’t stop the community from coming to life with festive dancers taking the streets with the people in celebration for the new year.
What to do: Head to Capon street for a stripe of Cantonese-style Chinese restaurants decorated for the Chinese New Year and enjoy some good food while watching a performance from the lion dancers in street.
Centered on Pender Street in the eastern side of the downtown financial lies the third largest Chinatown in North America. Vancouver’s Chinatown is home to not only authentic Chinese markets and a growing nightlife; it is also home to the beautiful Dr. Son Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden for exquisite floral arrangements. For Chinese New Year, the dragon parade is a lavish display of celebration along numerous events in the district.
What to do: Attend the Chinese New Year Banquet at the Floata Seafood Restaurant for great traditional Chinese food. After a great meal, see a cultural variety show at the Spring Festival before the Chinese New Year Parade.
San Francisco, CA
Home to the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, the San Francisco neighborhood attracts tourists from all walks of life, all year round—even drawing more visitors than the Golden Gate Bridge. You can’t leave without taking a trip to the Golden Gate Bakery to get a homemade fortune cookie and snapping a picture in front the Dragon Gate.
What to do: Before you get ready for the big parade, take a visit to Tien Hau Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the Americas to pray for some good fortune into the New Year. Next, head to the Chinese New Year Flower Fair for a vibrant flower show.
Within the city center in Melbourne, Australia lays the oldest Chinatown in the Southern Hemisphere. Melbourne's Chinatown is known for its beautiful historic buildings from its inception in the 1800s located on the eastern end of the city off Little Burke Street. Be sure visit the Chinese Museum to learn about the district's history in Australia along with ancient artifacts. It's also known for its thriving culinary scene for traditional Chinese cuisine in the city.
What to do: Make a wish on The Lantern Wishing Tree and don’t miss the Chinatown Square Lighting where the entire district illuminates in red in celebration. Take a visit to the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple for blessings for the new year and head to the Dragon Parade to see the famous Dai Loong Dragon float.