Celebrating Chinese New Year around the world

Celebrating Chinese New Year around the world

Chinese New Year festivities begin on 1st February in Chinese communities worldwide. Musement takes a look at some different ways Chinese New Year will be celebrated around the world.

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, begins on the 1st of February 2022. This year is the Year of the Tiger, a sign of the Chinese horoscope characterised by a brave, competitive and confident personality. But how is this festival celebrated in China and in the rest of the world? And what are the traditions of this celebration?

Chinese New Year Traditions

The festivities usually last about two weeks, starting from Chinese New Year’s Eve (January 31st) until February 15th this year. Before the celebrations begin, people deep clean their homes – a ritual symbolising the discarding of the old year’s misfortunes in preparation for a new start. People also spend the week leading up to New Year buying food and snacks, clothes, decorations and gifts.

On New Year’s Eve, a lavish banquet reunites the family around a table full of traditional treats. One of the dinner’s highlights is the Nian Gao, the New Year cake made of sweet, glutinous rice with sugar, lotus leaves, Chinese dates and nuts (depending on the region).

The first day of the New Year is celebrated with family and the iconic red envelopes containing cash are given to junior members of the family. The dead are honoured with candles, incense and prayers on the second day, which is also when married women visit their families. The God of Wealth is celebrated on the fifth day and a lantern festival on the fifteenth day marks the end of the festivities.

Of course, celebrations will continue to be toned down this year due to the pandemic, but you can still expect incredible displays across the globe. Here’s a look at how different countries celebrate Chinese New Year around the world:

1. China

Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China and although celebrations last up to 16 days, only the first seven days are considered a public holiday here. Each city has its own special way to welcome the New Year. Giving flowers is seen as an important custom in certain parts of China. In Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou you will find flower fairs, festivals and markets set up for the arrival of the new year.

In Beijing, the real parties are held in temples, which host actual fairs that involve dance and traditional music, acrobatic performances, stalls selling local crafts, and traditional food stands.

Shanghai, meanwhile, is the capital of China’s nightlife, and celebrations sparkle here during the New Year. Lanterns are an important part of this celebration and you will find one of the most spectacular lantern displays at the annual Yuyuan Gardens Lantern Festival.


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2. America

Although it is not a public holiday in the US, Chinese New Year is celebrated big style in the United States, especially among Chinese communities. Usually, locals and tourists alike flock to New York City’s Chinatown to celebrate. Many restaurants will prepare a special menu and the annual Lunar New Year Parade takes place. The parade starts on Mott Street, turns onto Canal Street, continues on East Broadway and finishes at Broome Street.

The Chinese New Year celebration in San Francisco is one of the largest in the world. The Grand Parade is the main draw and will be held on February 19 this year. The parade has been held since the 1860s and features a huge golden dragon carried by over 100 dragon dancers.

Disneyland California will also hold Lunar New Year celebrations this year and pays tribute to Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean cultures. The park will feature Asian inspired food and drinks, décor, celebratory merchandise and exciting entertainment. “Mulan” will lead a Lunar New Year procession featuring beautiful lanterns that will come aglow after sunset.


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3. United Kingdom

Chinatown in the West End is the beating heart of London‘s Chinese New Year celebrations with traditional exhibitions, culinary specialties, dragons and fireworks. The central London festivities will take place across the West End, from Shaftsbury Avenue down to Trafalgar Square.

Manchester is also well known for its Chinese New Year celebrations. This year, a friendly tiger will watch over St. Ann’s Square and thousands of red lanterns will adorn the city’s streets. The city will also host live performances, street food and traditional lion and dragon dances to welcome in the New Year.

4. Australia

With one of the largest Chinese populations outside of Asia, Australia also celebrates Chinese New Year in a big way. Sydney is set to bring in the Lunar New Year with an exciting calendar of events. It will start with a bang at the annual firework display on 29 January 2022 at Darling Harbour. Sydney’s Chinese Garden of Friendship will also put on a spectacle of light show which will reflect the four seasons and feature Asian inspired music, food and drink.

Melbourne is also host to huge celebrations for the Lunar New Year. Victoria Street Lunar Festival has become one of the most popular celebrations to attend and will feature food stalls and street performances.

5. Singapore

Singapore’s Chingay Parade is legendary, and this year the parade turns 50. The annual event is characterised by performers, dazzling displays and colour. The theme for 2022’s parade is ‘Ignite Your Dreams’ and will be broadcast live on 12 February. Other celebrations, special menus, colourful streetlights, decorations and events will also be held in Singapore’s Chinatown.

Please note: All of the above Chinese New Year celebrations are subject to change due to the pandemic. We recommend you check restrictions ahead of visiting.

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