Lunar New Year Celebrations from Around the World

Over 1.5 billion people (1/6 of the world’s population) celebrate the Lunar New Year. It is also known as Spring Festival. Because this holiday is based on the cycle of the moon, the date changes from year to year. This year it falls on Friday, February 12 and 2021 is the year of the Ox. According to the Chinese zodiac, the Ox is said to represent physical strength, hard work, positivity, and honesty. Many different traditions are celebrated around the world. Below are some colorful highlights.

VIETNAM

Hanoi’s beautiful Hoan Keim Lake is usually a peaceful and quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the historic city center. However, at midnight on the morning of the Lunar New Year, known as Tet in Vietnam, the lake is crowded with tens of thousands of revelers. They gather around the lake every year to celebrate the arrival of the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display that can be seen from all over the city.

UNITED STATES

Los Angeles and New York City have been hosting spectacular Lunar New Year parades for decades. While each city has its own unique traditions, the tens to hundreds of thousands of spectators who attend each year can expect to see marching bands, colorful costumes, impressive floats, dancers (including lion and dragon dances), dynamic performers, and even some celebrity participants.

CANADA

Asian-Canadians make up almost half of Vancouver’s population. Needless to say, celebrating Lunar New Year is a big deal here. There are a number of events that take place all over the city, but Vancouver’s Chinatown is the location of the annual Spring Festival. It’s a cultural extravaganza that is not to be missed and includes a parade, special performances, martial arts demonstrations, and a Chinese New Year banquet.

SINGAPORE

Singapore’s residents represent many different ethnicities – Chinese, Malays, Indians, Eurasians and many others. The Chingay Parade, which is held during the second week of the Lunar New Year features vibrant performers in elaborates costumes from different ethnicity, cultures and backgrounds; dazzling display of floats; and huge intricate props and structures and cultural performances from all around the world. Chingay is one of Asia’s largest street performances and float parades.

SOUTH KOREA

Known as Seollal in Korea, the Lunar New Year is one of the most significant holidays of the year. It is a time for families to come together to honor their ancestors by holding memorial ceremonies. Many of these ceremonies are focused on celebrating traditional customs involving food, clothing, and games. One popular game is called Neolttwigi. It is similar to a game of seesaw, except that participants stand on each end of the neol and jump, propelling the opposite person into the air. Over the years it has evolved into a dazzling acrobatic performance, delighting many spectators.

ARGENTINA

Organized by the Chinese Embassy in Buenos Aires and the local government, rowing teams compete on the Rio de la Plata River in colorful, wooden dragon boats. Dragon boats are traditional row boats that originated from the Pearl River Delta region of China’s southern Guangdong Province. Each boat holds a team of 22.

CHINA + TAIWAN

Usually marking the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebration is the Lantern Festival. During the festival, people decorate their homes with colorful paper lanterns, some of which have riddles written on them or attached to the lantern. People, especially children, gather around the lanterns and try to solve the riddles. When they have an answer, the lantern owner typically rewards them with a small prize.

 

 

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