Chinese New Year is, without doubt, one of the planet’s single biggest celebrations. Not only is it marked in style by the country’s 1.4 billion citizens at home, but Chinese communities in cities across the globe refuse to see this festival in quietly. Wherever in the world you find a Chinatown; expect delicious food, roaring music, colourful parades and plenty of fireworks.
The event marks the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. Festivities typically begin around January 15th, with the first day of the Chinese New Year taking place on the first new moon that falls between the 21st of January and 20th of February.
From the streets of Hong Kong to the avenues of Paris, here’s where you can take in this extraordinary cultural extravaganza in 2018.
You won’t be surprised to hear that the country’s capital hosts some truly spectacular celebrations. And if you’re looking for a festival atmosphere, it really is the place to be.
The city’s temples and parks open their doors for ‘miao hui’, or ‘temple fairs’. These lively events combine entertainment, fun, art and crafts; you’ll be able to sample new food while witnessing everything from stilt-walkers to puppet shows as you go.
You’ll find them scattered all over the city, so a fair should always be within reach, but we particularly recommend the Ditan Park Temple Fair. This event has a focus on heritage projects; you’ll see pottery production, paper cutting and homespun weaving – before you stop to take in a folk dance or two.
You can fly direct to Beijing from Manchester Airport, which is the only airport outside of London to fly direct to China
Easily one of the most popular destinations for Chinese New Year, there’s a plentiful mix of old and new traditions, and the city is always brimming with people.
Aside from the parties in the streets and the carnival atmosphere, there are two landmark events that shouldn’t be missed. First, the firework display over Victoria Harbour is a feast for the senses, as fireworks bathe the crowds with vibrant red and gold – you’ll get a great view from the waterfronts of both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Second, Hong Kong’s famous night parade is filled with spectacular floats, dancers and performing artists; you’ll find it winding through the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui for over 90 minutes on New Year’s Day. For an authentic experience, look no further than this exciting city.
Boasting the second largest Chinatown in the United Kingdom, Manchester offers a diverse range of events and activities. While the celebrations here aren’t on the same scale as other destinations around the world, they’re no less passionate.
There’s the glistening golden dragon and fantastic Chinese street food market in St Ann’s Square running throughout the festival, while Chinatown’s celebration features fireworks and its own dragon parade, including a 175ft golden dragon. The lunar celebrations mean that Manchester city centre is painted with vivid colours and is great fun for all the family.
The Big Apple has a reputation for doing things bigger and better than the rest, and Chinese New Year is no exception. New York has the largest Chinese population in the western hemisphere, and the celebrations here are incredibly extravagant. For great food, grand parades and entertainment on every corner, it’s the place to be.
The festivities begin with the firecracker ceremony in Manhattan, at Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Afterwards, the streets fill with performers, dance troupes, drummers and huge dragons. This is just one of three extravagant parades that take place in the city at this spectacular time of year – making this a chance to see New York in a totally unique way.
For those looking to avoid a long-haul flight or seek a more spontaneous way to experience Chinese New Year, the romantic city of Paris may seem an unlikely destination, but the thriving French-Chinese community here celebrate as well as anywhere else in the world.
The vocal community-driven parades are just the start; expect all the floats, costumes, dragons and dancers you can imagine. Visitors to the city of lights will experience traditional Chinese illuminations strung high into the skies, whilst you can catch the main parade beginning at the Place de la République, before following it through the 3rd and 4th districts of the city.
The back streets of the 13th district offer the chance to experience Chinese culture away from the typical tourist routes, where traditional delicacies are available to sample. The festivities here will lead you off the beaten track and let you experience the French capital in a totally new – and unexpected – way.
This bayside city plays host to one of the oldest and largest Chinese New Year festivals outside of Asia. Since the 1860’s, when residents first shared this cultural phenomenon with the early San Franciscans, Chinatown has been booming here.
The parade here is one of the best in the world, as decadent floats and performers in glamorous costumes line the streets, followed at the end by the now-famous 256ft golden dragon. It begins from the northern end of Market Street, at the junction with 2nd Street, before winding its way through Chinatown.
Experience all the magic that the Golden Gate City has to offer. A journey to join in with these world-famous celebrations is well worth it.
Since 1987, gatherings for Chinese New Year have begun on the banks of the Hongbao River, and over the decades, the celebrations here have turned into some of the largest anywhere in Asia. There’s a wide range of ethnicities and cultures mixing here, but everything Chinese is celebrated in the fullest.
Exotic foods, explosive fireworks and traditional Chinese lanterns provide a sensory feast, while Singapore’s other famous event, the Chingay Parade, is the largest of its kind in Asia – dancing dragons and lion walkers make for a truly immersive experience. You can catch the parade beginning on Republic Boulevard, in the shadow of the Singapore Flyer – a truly once in a lifetime event for those who can make it.
To experience Chinese New Year and its carnival atmosphere, discover these destinations and many more with flights from Manchester Airport.