Here at Flight Centre, we wish our Chinese customers Gong Xi Fa Cai. While the Chinese New Year officially starts today, Chinese populations around the world will celebrate this pivotal event over a number of weeks. The festivities generally include cultural presentations, workshops and markets that all culminate in a spectacular parade. We think it'll be fantastic to join the party - whether you travel to Asia or celebrate with Chinese ex-pats who live abroad. Here are our top international Chinese New Year festivals from around the world.
The Sydney Chinese community celebrate the new year with a festival, which begins on 8th February and runs until the 24th that includes art presentations, workshops and markets. The highlight of the celebrations is the twilight parade on February 17 that starts at the Sydney Town Hall on George Street and finishes in Chinatown. There is pre-parade entertainment including dancers, acrobats and music that warm the crowd up for the main attraction - the stunning floats and dancers who are illuminated against colourful projections on the city buildings.
Hong Kong is always vibrant but over the New Year period, this southern Chinese city famous for its harbour bursts to life with colour and spectacle. The festivities take place between February 4 and 23 and include a stunning parade on the night of New Year's Day with floats, stilt walkers, lion dancers and dragon dancers. Other events include a fireworks display, a race day and a special football tournament.
To celebrate the Spring Festival, Beijing hosts a number temple fairs, a concept that is believed to have evolved during the Liao Dynasty (916 - 1125CE) to celebrate the arrival of Spring but is now closely aligned to the New Year festivities. The Temple of the Earth Fair is one of the city's most popular fairs and includes folk performances and market stalls. On the other hand, the Longtan Temple Fair features a parade, a porcelain exhibition and a chess competition, while the Lianhuachi Temple Fair focuses on traditional folk arts.
Reputed to be the largest and oldest of its kind outside Asia, the San Francisco New Year Parade features around 100 floats decked out in glorious colour. The celebration includes marching bands, stilt walkers, lion dancers and acrobats. This year the parade, which is also held in conjunction with a community fair during the day, starts at 5.15pm on February 23. Spectators have the option of purchasing a bleacher seat along the parade route or lining the streets of Grant or Kearny.
The celebrations in Singapore begin on January 19 with an official light-up and opening ceremony and continue through February. On New Year's Eve, there's a variety of live performances from a stage in Chinatown that culminates in a spectacular fireworks display. For those seeking a prosperous year, may like to cast their wish at the Chinatown Wishing Tree; it's said that those who throw a mandarin orange and makes it stick to the special banyan tree will have their wish granted.