If you thought the new year’s revelry was over, think again.
The Lunar New Year (aka Chinese New Year or Spring Festival), which falls on Saturday, 25 January in 2020, is set to ignite celebrations in many nations that observe the traditional lunar calendar or have sizeable Chinese populations.
2020 is the Year of the Rat – the first of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, so if you’re turning 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 90 or any other multiple of 12, this is your year.
Whether this is your Chinese zodiac sign year or you’re just after an excuse to extend the new year’s celebrations a little longer, here’s where to celebrate Chinese New Year around the world.
This is the biggest holiday of the year in Beijing, so you can expect the Chinese capital to really paint the town red. A temple fair is where you’ll be able to observe many traditional cultural experiences such as dragon and lion dances, arts and crafts and auspicious foods, while locals setting off firecrackers and fireworks are a constant nightly occurrence. Celebrations culminate with the Lantern Festival on Saturday, 8 February where lanterns and drones are set into the sky in parks and nature areas.
Historic Senado Square hosts Macao’s biggest Chinese New Year Parade where the old Portuguese area is lit up as scores of lions, dragons (including a 200m-long dragon) and floats dance and head along a route lined with 25 UNESCO World Heritage-listed buildings. The main attraction is the fireworks display at the Macau Tower on Saturday, January 25 this year – the best spot to watch is from the tower itself or the Taipa shore.
In Taiwan’s capital, the Lunar New Year is marked by the Taipei Lantern Festival, a major national event held for nine days this year. In 2020, two Taipei venues – historic Ximending and the modern Nanxing Park in the east – will feature traditional lanterns and electromechanical versions of all shapes and sizes that light up the night sky in spectacular colour to contrast old and new Taipei.
Chinese New Year is also one of the major events on the annual Singapore calendar and runs from January 25 to February 8 in 2020. As well as events, festivals and activities going on around the city state, the NYE fireworks are a must-see experience. There’s plenty of places to get a great view of the show, but we reckon a spot by the iconic Merlion at Raffles Place on the bay is the place to be.
With the largest Chinatown in North America, Chinese New Year celebrations in San Francisco are among the biggest worldwide. The main ticket is the annual Chinese New Year Parade (happening on 8 February this year), where more than three million people line the streets to watch over 100 parade entries. Don’t miss the 8.3m-long Golden Dragon float, which requires 100 people to operate as it makes it way down the route from the corner of 2nd and Market streets to the corner of Jackson and Kearny.
The multicultural city of Vancouver turns it on for Chinese New Year with heaps of food banquets, cultural fairs and festivals. The Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade brings the energy, colour and pageantry to the streets of Chinatown with Canada’s largest troupe of lion dancers plus cultural dance performances, marching bands and martial arts displays. It’s all going down on Sunday, 26 January in 2020 along the 1.3 route in Chinatown starting at Pender Street.
Sydney is no slouch in celebrating Lunar New Year with what’s said to be the biggest CNY celebrations outside Asia. There’s more than 100 events to get among from Saturday, 25 January to Sunday, 9 February. First up, get a selfie with your Chinese zodiac sign lit-up lunar lantern at Circular Quay (which also features a tower of nine gold metallic rat robots), then get to the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest dragon boat race at Cockle Bay on 1 February, before grabbing a bit at Lunar Feasts available in a heap of Sydney venues.
Not many might know that London has its own, albeit small, Chinatown. Head to the West End and Chinatown to celebrate the Year of the Rat with a spectacular parade (the biggest in Europe) of floats and lion and dragon dances, stage performances at Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square and food (in Chinatown) taking place on Sunday, 26 January.