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Top 5 spots to celebrate Chinese New Year 2014

Published January 31st, 2014

There are many awesome things about living in multicultural Australia – different cuisines, traditions, festivals and holidays, just for starters. And the best part is that we get to celebrate New Year multiple times - a holiday that combines all our faves like food, festivities and dressing up. There’s not just the Gregorian calendar used worldwide, there’s also Orthodox New Year, Vietnamese New Year, Tibetan New Year, Rosh Hashanah and Islamic New Year, plus our fave, Chinese New Year, which falls on January 31 in 2014.

 

Also known as Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and cities around with world with significant Chinese populations, and is a public holiday in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Tradition states you should clean and decorate your house to welcome in the New Year and wear red to ward off evil spirits and misfortune. Unmarried younger members of Chinese families can also look forward to lucky red envelopes of money called hong bao as elders pass on luck and prosperity for the year.

The Chinese calendar also follows a 12-year zodiac cycle with a different animal assigned to each year.  2014 is the Year of the Horse, so if you are turning 12, 24, 36 or 48 (and so on in multiples of 12) this year,  according to your Chinese equine sign you are clever, funny, kind, animated and full of energy. Some of your celeb horsey contemporaries include Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey and Liam Hemsworth.

Want to prancercise with other witty, fun and sophisticated ponies? Here’s our top 5 spots to celebrate Chinese New Year 2014.

 

 

Beijing

The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, brings an opportunity for buttoned-up Beijing to let off some firecrackers and enjoy a 3-day public holiday. The biggest holiday of the year in the Chinese capital, locals tune in to see the variety show-style Spring Festival Gala on TV, watch a massive fireworks display, go to temple fairs and eat dumplings (jiaozi) for prosperity in the New Year.

 

 

Hong Kong

Chinese New Year in Hong Kong  is a 15-day celebration full of the traditional, festive and downright raucous. There’s a 3-day public holiday where the highlight is the annual themed Chinese New Year Night Parade with floats, international performers, lion dancers and more along Tsim Sha Tsui. There’s also the Lunar New Year Fireworks Display on both sides of Victoria Harbour, horse racing (of course!) and traditional flower markets for blooming good luck in 2014.

 

 

Taipei

Chinese New Year’s Eve and the first 3 days are public holidays in the Taiwanese capital so expect noisy firecrackers, traditional events and much feasting to go on. Lucky symbols for the New Year in Taiwan include plum blossom and water narcissus flowers plus tangerines to decorate the home. The most spectacular event is the Taipei Lantern Festival when a sea of paper lanterns light up the night. Write your New Year wishes on the lanterns before releasing them into the sky.

 

 

San Francisco

Said to be the largest Chinese New Year Parade outside Asia, in 2014 San Fran turns on the double happiness and prosperity with over 100 floats, costumed performers, martial arts displays, lion dancers and even a Miss Chinatown USA – all themed around the Year of the Horse. Chinese New Year has been celebrated in San Francisco since the gold rush days of the 1860s, so head to Chinatown to check out all the festivities.

 

 

Sydney

Sydney Town knows how to party and the Lunar New Year is no exception. There’s a 17-day Chinese New Year Festival program with lunar feasts and markets all over Sydney, dragon boat races at Darling Harbour and the Chinese New Year Twilight Parade at Sydney Town Hall. Chow down on a multi-course banquet at one of the many restaurants across Sydney with special New Year menus or share yum cha and tea with friends in Chinatown.

 

 

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.