Most beautiful Lunar New Year celebrations
Thean Hou Temple is one of Malaysia's largest and oldest temples. Adorned in hundreds of glowing red lanterns, this majestic six-tiered temple draws in thousands of festivalgoers annually to celebrate the new year. This year, visitors can enjoy a string of activities, performances, and installations including a series of shows which center around one of China's most renowned characters - the aptly named 'Pigsy'.
Every year Singapore hosts a kaleidoscopic street parade called Chingay, which translates to 'the art of costume and masquerade'. Basically, it's a massive street parade fitted out with dazzling floats, colourful costumes, live performances, intricate props, and fireworks. This year's Chingay event commemorates the Singapore Bicentennial, the 200th anniversary of the founding of modern Singapore, and we're betting it's going to be bigger and better than ever.
Every year Yuyuan Gardens draws millions of visitors for their world-class display of lanterns. The luminous creations come in all different shapes, sizes, and colours, depicting everything from fish (representing wealth and prosperity) to dragons (to represent good luck) - and of course, pigs. There's even a series of lanterns scrawled with riddles for those wanting to flex their brain muscles in front of friends and family.
What do 600,000 firecrackers crackling in the sky sound like? It sounds exactly like the banishment of an entire city's worth of evil spirits. Every year, herds of New Yorkers head to Sara D. Roosevelt Park for the traditional firecracker release in order to ward off the bad omens of the past year. And, for those who still have their eardrums in check, there's lion dancing and parades to carry them into the streets of Chinatown after.
To prepare for the Year of the Pig, Hong Kong's shopping malls have done a complete cuteness overhaul and decked themselves out in pig paraphernalia and pretty pink hues. From Langham Place to Tuen Mun Town Plaza, these multi-level shopping complexes are now home to a world of Instagram opportunities, including (but not limited to) life-sized Lego pieces of families sharing meals; an enormous pig-shaped dim sum and a massive birdcage filled to the brim with mandarins.
During Lunar New Year, the bustling city of Seoul becomes relatively quiet as people head back home to celebrate with their families. But every year, Seoul's Korean Folk Village holds its Fortune Party where visitors can take part in traditional activities and events, including daljiptaeugi (ritual burning to bring upon good harvest and peace), sharing tteokguk (traditional rice cake soup) and more.
This year, Los Angeles celebrates the 120th year of its historic Golden Dragon Parade - yes, this event is even older than LA's famous Hollywood sign! Each year hundreds of thousands of festivalgoers sprawl along North Broadway to witness a celebration of culture, history, and tradition as floats, marching bands and costumes pass them by.
Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake fireworks are so unmissable that the Vietnamese government skipped this year's Gregorian New Year fireworks, so they could focus only on Tet (Vietnamese for Lunar New Year). The fifteen-minute pyrotechnic show kicks off at midnight, with musical and artistic performances coming in the lead-up.
Manchester is home to one of the UK's largest and oldest Chinese communities, so it seems only fitting that its celebrations are some of the UK's best. This Lunar New Year, St Ann's Square will be home to an enormous pig sculpture, created by the world-renowned artist, Alex Rinsler. Surrounding the pig will be a circle of piggy banks where visitors can drop a donation to Manchester's less fortunate - mimicking the Chinese tradition of giving red pouches (hong baos) to friends and family.
Vancouver’s Spring Festival Parade is a celebration of the city's rich multiculturalism. Ringing in its 46th year, the parade is set to draw crowds of 100,000 as herds of people make their way from Millenium Gate to Keefer at Abbott. There'll be a dazzling display of traditional lion dance teams, martial arts, dance troupes and more.
Tokyo's Yokohama district is chaotic even without a global celebration like Lunar New Year. Throw that in the mix and you've got a debaucherous couple of weeks in Japan's little China. To celebrate the 33rd year of the event, the district will be hosting a program of activities and installations, including a massive countdown party (Feb 4); a parade of traditional costumes (Feb 16) and a spectacular Lantern Festival (Feb 19).
Taking place in the heart of Chinatown, Chicago's Lunar New Year annual parade draws marchers from Wentworth Avenue and 24th Street up to Cermak Road. The crowd of 30,000 spectators follows a trail of marching bands, colourful floats, traditional dancing lion and dragon teams as they parade throughout the Chinatown precinct.
London's Lunar New Year celebrations are said to be some of the biggest outside of Asia. Coming together in Trafalgar Square, the jam-packed schedule includes traditional dragon and flying lion dances, performances of traditional Chinese dance and acrobatics, interactive dance sessions and of course, a mouthwatering selection of delicious street food.