The long weekend beckons for a trip, but it can feel odd and even lonely being away from home during the Lunar New Year festivities. Kill two birds with one stone by planning a visit to one of these places that throw massive celebrations for the holiday.
Hong Kong’s Chinese New Year Parade is a sight to behold, with intricate floats, marching bands, acrobats and dancers winding their way down Tsim Sha Tsui on New Year’s Day. The annual event sees dance, acrobatic and music troupes from all over the world come together for one big street party. The parade starts at 8pm and lasts for about two hours, but it’s wise to begin sourcing a good vantage point early, unless you’re able to purchase one of the coveted tickets to the spectator stands. Tickets go on sale from 14 January at the Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Centre at Star Ferry Concourse, Tsim Sha Tsui. On the second day, watch the fireworks over Victoria Harbour and then head to the Sha Tin Racecourse on day three to enjoy Hong Kong’s most popular horse racing event.
Join Sydney-siders in shaking their tail feathers to welcome the Year of the Rooster. The Sydney Chinese New Year Festival (27 Jan-12 Feb) started as a small community event in Chinatown but now extends all the way to the Sydney Harbour, and has grown to become one of the city’s largest festivals. Highlights include seeing iconic Sydney landmarks lit red from 27 to 29 January, Lunar Trails displaying spectacular zodiac animal lanterns by Australian-Chinese artists, dragon boat races, and food and drink stalls with a mass karaoke event at the Westpac Lunar Lantern Hub on 3 February.
Like Singapore, Beijing emphasises on family traditions and reunions during the Chinese New Year, but there is still plenty for travellers to do. Besides the usual home visits and feasting, Beijing is also known for its spring temple fairs — these gatherings near temples are characterised by cultural activities like acrobatics, dragon and lion dances, along with plenty of food, drinks and games. Visit the popular the Ditan Temple Fair to watch the Reenactment of the Qing-Style Sacred Ceremony.
It may not seem it, but New York actually throws one of the grandest Lunar New Year celebrations — great if you’re into massive parades and buzzy vibes. On the first day of the holiday, the New Year’s Day Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural festival that takes places at Sara Roosevelt Park from 11am sees all-day cultural performances and a firecracker detonation. The biggest celebration however is on 5 February in Chinatown, with elaborate floats, marching bands, lion dances, musicians and even magicians. While you’re there, feast at one of Chinatown’s best Chinese restaurants and sing your hearts out at one of the many karaoke bars. Fringe activities also take place in other parts of the city including Flushings and the China Institute.