As the Chinese have migrated to other lands over the centuries, they have brought many of their own traditions and cultural customs along with them. One of these is the celebration of their most important holiday, the lunar new year, and even as they embrace new ideas and values, a lot of their ancient ways have remained intact.
Here are some Chinese New Year 2011 celebrations from around the world.
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San Francisco, California
San Francisco Chinese New Year festival originated during the 1860s Gold Rush and is now the largest Asian event in North America. Two major fairs, the Chinese New Year Flower Fair and the Chinatown Community Street Fair, both conclude during the Chinese New Year Parade. Floats, costumes, dragon dancers, drums and firecrackers all tour the streets of Chinatown, from Market Street to Kearny Street. The grand finale features the Golden Dragon, a 201-foot-long ornament that is decorated with colored lights, silver rivets and white rabbit fur. Visitors can find the best spots to watch the parade along Portsmouth Square and the review stand area at the end of the parade.
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The Chinese New Year Twilight Parade will travel from Town Hall to Chinatown on February 6, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m Visitors can even be part of the parade by volounteering as Spring Bunnies or light box pushers. There are also Dragon Boat races occurring from the 12th to the 13th of February, where 12 metre-long boats decorated as mythical serpents race along Darling Harbour. Prior to registration, each boat must undergo a ritual to bring it to life, including dotting its â€œeyesâ€ with red paint. Finally, the Chinese New Year Markets bring together Chinese cuisine, oriental performances and traditional crafts in Belmore Park from the 28th to the 30th of January. Guests can enjoy screenings of Asian cinema as projected in a giant screen or gleefully participate in the karaoke competition. Numerous hotels in Sydney offer superb views of the action. And if just visiting Sydney for Chinese New Year is not enough and you want to move to Sydney then this guide will help.
Photo courtesy by Andrew Currie.
From January 28 to February 10, a special Chinese-style feast will be served in Spice Route along King Street West in downtown Toronto. Efu noodles, fish and dumplings are prepared for those who reserve ahead, while party favors and dragon dancers entertain the attendees. Other restaurants in Torontoâ€™s Chinatown will serve appetizing Chinese food during the festivities, which centers on the glamourous Dragon Dance parade. Finally, the Chinese New Year Flower Market Fair will be open to the public between the 29th and 30th of January. Freshly cut flowers, oranges, tangerines and candies will be sold to decorate the houses of those who wish to respect the coming Chinese new year.
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The opening ceremony will be held in Trafalgar Square exactly at noon on the 6th of February. Special performers from the Qinghai and Kunming provinces of China will be brought in, including dragon dancers and Chinese acrobats and martial artists. Fireworks will erupt at hourly intervals during the festivities. Some 300,000 people will attend the ensuing parade, activities and food stalls.
Photo courtesy by Eneas.
Mexico City, Mexico
Communidad China de MÃ©xico, A. C. is the primary Chinese-Mexican organization in charge of organizing the New Year festival here in Mexico City. With 3,000 families of Chinese descent who made their homes in Barrio Chino, the red lantern-festooned street of Dolores will be closed off to normal traffic on February 7 as lion dancers, fireworks and traditional delicacies will all be displayed to visiting crowds. The Teatro del Pueblo will also feature a Gala Night with Chinese opera, a martial arts exhibition and a parade of Chinese residents in traditional outfits.
Because of a ban on firecrackers, the focus on Singapore’s Chinese New Year celebration is the Chingay Parade, a colorful display of performers and floats from Jalan Besar to Outram Park. The parade begins at twilight and ends before midnight as thousands will hold up lighted candles all over the parade grounds.