Chinese New Year is a significant festival for the people and cultures following Chinese Lunar Calendar. The Chinese New Year celebrations spans for 15 days, starting from the New Moon on the first day of the Lunar year of the Chinese calendar and ending on the full moon about 15 days later.
The celebrations are not limited to China alone but witnessed in other countries and territories following the Chinese calendar.
Places with sizeable population of Chinese people such as Hong Kong, Thailand, Macau, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Mauritius, Taiwan, Singapore and even the rest of the world like California, India, Paris, Vietnam and others have special Chinese New Year events lined up to usher the festival.
Chinese New Year Festival is a major highlight in the California’s calendar of annual events and holidays. The country has the tradition of organizing a parade this day. It is believed to be the oldest and largest cultural event of its kind in North America to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The parade is taken through two major streets- Grant and Kearny Streets. The festival is celebrated with much fervor and pomp. The history behind the parade goes back to the 1849 when several people migrated to San Francisco for the discovery of gold.
Among the migrants, a lot of them were Chinese who came to work in the gold mines and seek a good fortune. In 1860s, San Francisco Chinatown residents became friendly with the Chinese migrants and wished to share their culture. The Chinese organizers chose to do a parade to exhibit their culture and since then the parade has been continuing on the Grant Avenue and Kearny Street with people beating drums, lighting crackers, holding colorful flags, banners and lanterns in hand to drive away evil spirit.
South East Asia
Chinese New Year is one of the most notable events and a public holiday in Malaysia and Singapore’s calendar of festivities. A host of celebrations are lined up to make merry on the day. The Chinatown celebrations are the major highlights of the festival and worth capturing when in South East Asia. Different types of events are planned each year for raising toast to a brand new year, notably in Penang and Klang. A festive street bazaar, a lion dance competition and night stage shows at Kreta Ayer Square were organized in 2010.
A prominent feature of the Chinese New Year celebrations is the Chingay Parade, which is held as an annual street parade in Singapore. People come out on the streets with colorful floats and keep street audiences engaged and amused with their wide variety of cultural performances. Sometimes, dance competitions, multi-ethnic performances and a fireside party are organized as part of the parade.
Chinese residents in Philippines celebrate the Chinese New Year with much gusto. It is a significant festival in their annual event calendar and they wait for this day beforehand. The government of Philippines showed the significance of this day by declaring it as a special non-working holiday throughout the country in the year 2012.
In Indonesia, the Chinese New Year is a big event that is officially named as Tahun Baru Imlekis. The Chinese-Indonesian people have been celebrating this day with vigor since 1999 after Suharto stepped down. The festival was declared a public holiday in 2003.
A parade is organized to celebrate the festive spirit surrounding the Chinese New Year. People come out on streets and perform dance. Live musical performances, Dragon dances, Kung-Fu demonstrations and many more entertaining events are lined up throughout the country to make the festival special for everyone.
Other parts of the world
The Chinese New Year is a significant event in many western cities that arrange festivities to celebrate this day. Parades are arranged in Los Angeles, Wellington, Toronto, New York City, and Vancouver. Even smaller cities with significant Chinese populations and territories historically related to Chinese immigration host celebratory events to mark the Chinese New Year.
Sydney claims to host one of the largest New Year celebrations outside of Asia with lakhs of people attending and participating in the festivities in Chinatown annually. Events are lined up for three weeks, including night bazaars, store launches, outdoor evening street food stalls and so on. Opera performances, a film festival, dragon boat races, and several parades with inclusion of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese performers are the highlights of the Chinese New Year event in the city.
Many people with roots traced back to China in India, particularly in Kolkata’s Chinatown also celebrate the Chinese New Year with a lot of zeal. Musical and dance events are arranged to celebrate the festive spirit of the day.
|More on Chinese New Year|