[Update: this post has been edited for 2016]
Celebrated by approximately a billion people worldwide, Chinese New Year is one of the world’s biggest festivals. Also known as Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival, celebrations run from Chinese New Year’s Eve – which in 2016, falls on Sunday, 7 February – right through to the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese calendar.
Welcome the Year of the Monkey with some of Asia’s most mesmerizing Chinese New Year celebrations.
Tradition reigns in Beijing
Copyright: wong yu liang
Where better to bring in the Lunar New Year than in the Chinese capital? Bustling fairs, carnivals, parties and performances take place in the temples, parks and town squares of Beijing throughout the festival period. Unlike many westernised Chinese New Year celebrations, the ancient traditions of Chinese New Year are still upheld in China, with locals taking part in an annual migration home to their families in time for the Reunion Dinner on New Year’s Eve. Houses are meticulously cleaned and decorated for the occasion, before red decorations are hung and firecrackers are popped to ward off bad luck. Visitors can take part in the Chinese New Year traditions by wearing the auspicious red colour to attract luck.
Chinese New Year in stylish Singapore
Tradition meets contemporary in Singapore during Chinese New Year, with a festival of exhilarating multi-cultural celebrations that are unique to the city. Chinese New Year traditions are practiced by many in Singapore, while others use the long weekend to take a holiday or simply enjoy the colourful festivities, local attractions and excellent shopping districts.
Photographed by Andrew Tan
Whether you are fully immersed in the culture or experiencing your first Chinese New Year, the festivities in Singapore’s Chinatown are not to be missed. Celebrations come to a crescendo during the Chingay Parade, a street-carnival extravaganza that takes place on 19 and 20 February 2016 at the F1 Pit Building. Fun street parties and a holiday atmosphere pervade the city as this dazzling parade of floats, performers, dragon figures and lion costumes dazzle onlookers young and old. Looking for a comfortable hotel in Singapore located within strolling distance of the Chinese New Year festivities? Enjoy a luxurious stay with panoramic views at Pan Pacific Singapore, less than a 15-minute walk from the starting line of the Chingay Parade.
Explosive celebrations in Hong Kong
Copyright: e X p o s e
There is something going on at every turn in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year. The biggest celebration of the lunar calendar brings an exciting party atmosphere to the city streets in a mesmerising medley of sights, sounds and smells. On New Year’s Day, witness the International Chinese New Year Parade at the harbour front, where thousands of people line the streets to enjoy the spectacle of colourful floats and performances. If you like fireworks, don’t miss the 2nd day at Victoria harbour, for choreographed fireworks will be on showcase together with their Symphony of Lights light show. Learn the names of your favourite fireworks with our guide to enjoy the evening even more.
Light up Chinese New Year at the Taiwan Lantern Festival
The Taiwan Lantern Festival is the highlight of Taiwan’s Chinese New Year celebrations, taking place from 22 February to 3 March 2016. Occurring on the 15th night of the Spring Festival and first full moon of the lunar year, it is one of the world’s biggest and most beautiful night festivals. This year, there is even a “Smart Technology Lantern Area” to mark Taoyuan’s nomination as one of Smart21 Cities by the Intelligent Community Forum.
Copyright: Tanachot Srijam
All over the country, thousands of lanterns will be released, lighting up the night sky and marking the end of the Chinese New Year festivities. Lanterns small and large are also placed at temples and other important points of interest to symbolise a bright future in the coming year. One of the biggest annual organised events is the Pingxi Sky Lantern festival, taking place just outside Taipei. Release your own decorated lantern into the sky and watch a magical scene unfold above you.
Watch Bangkok’s Chinatown burst to life
Head to Bangkok’s Chinatown for Thailand’s biggest Lunar New Year celebration. Indulge in delicious Chinese banquets and watch spectacular dragon parades with colourful performers and traditional dancers celebrating the city’s unique Thai-Chinese culture. Bright red lanterns adorn the streets and temples surrounding Chinatown, while traditional performances featuring dancers, musicians and acrobats take place at Chinatown Gate after dark. Soak in the atmosphere and peruse the many market stalls as you stroll the bustling streets, then rest up in the comfort of Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Bangkok to do it all again the next day.
Where will you be celebrating Chinese New Year? Let us know in the comments section below.
Featured image: Copyright: Patricia Hofmeester