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- Posted:Tuesday, January 15, 2013
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Celebrated by a whopping billion people worldwide on Sunday, February 10th, Chinese New Year is a lunar festival that gives people the chance to boost their luck for the coming year. Friends and family exchange tasty treats and red envelopes with 'lucky' amounts of money in them. Fireworks are a huge feature, as are the long trains of dancing dragons and lions - icons that have come to represent the holiday to the wider world. But where to go? We've picked our top five spots to ring in the Year of the Snake.
The fascinating city of Hong Kong puts on a great show to welcome in the New Year, especially on February 11th, when cruise ships in Victoria Harbour will set off beautiful, synchronised fireworks. The night before, the neighbourhood of Tsim Sha Tsui will host the Night Parade, featuring elaborate illuminated floats, performers and dancers, starting at 8pm.
Lunar New Year celebrations will take place in Singapore from January 3rd to February 15th, mainly in the Chinatown area. In particular, Kreta Ayer Square will host a number of dance troupes, fire eaters and lion dancers. The real highlight of the month, however, is the Chingay Parade taking place on February 22nd and 23rd at the Formula One Pit Building. This parade is a multicultural extravaganza of pyrotechnics, elaborate costumes and huge floats and is followed by fun street parties.
Beautiful Vancouver has around 400,000 ethnic Chinese residents and hosts a vibrant parade on February 10th. Around 3,000 performers will parade from the massive Millennium Gate through Chinatown, showcasing traditional dance troupes, marching bands, the Vancouver Police Department Motorcycle Drill Team and the largest assembly of lion dance teams in Canada. If you can catch it, head to the Year of the Snake Expo at BC Place, running from January 31st to February 3rd, where you'll find plenty of food, Korean drumming and performances by pop stars from Hong Kong and Taiwan.
As San Francisco has the largest Chinese community outside of Asia, it's no surprise that the city's Lunar New Year celebrations stretch across two whole weeks. Here you'll find tea ceremonies, folk dances, the Miss Chinatown USA pageant and free performances at the Asian Art Museum. Whatever you decided to check out, make sure you don't miss the illuminated night-time parade on February 23rd. It starts on Market Street and meanders into Chinatown and features an awesome 268-foot Golden Dragon carried by more than 100 performers. Want more info? Check out the official website.
Chinese New Year is the perfect time to explore Chinese-Australian culture, and where better to do it than in the country's biggest Chinatown?! Sydney hosts a Twilight Parade on February 17th and a glamorous vintage Dragon Ball on February 23rd, with art installations, performances, banquets, lectures and more all across the month. Make sure to check out 'Snake Snake Snake', an exhibition of contemporary Asian Australian artists at Sydney Town Hall showing from February 5th to 23rd. The official website has tons of dates and other useful information.
Where will you welcome in the Year of the Snake? Wherever you are, don't forget to wear red - a happy and very lucky colour closely tied to the Lunar New Year festival.