Late January to early February is the time for the Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year. It’s a time when arts and crafts, culture and food are celebrated in Asia as well as other places around the world.
If you want to join in the fun and help welcome the Year of the Rat in 2020, you’ve got plenty of choices. Here are four.
The island nation of Singapore has one of the region’s biggest celebrations. Make sure you visit Chinatown, where you’ll see a fascinating blend of old and new, with historic temples alongside trendy shops and nightspots. Wherever you go, you’ll see homes and storefronts adorned with red décor as a symbol to bring good luck. During the New Year, the streets are lined with beautifully designed lanterns and are filled with performers, from lion dancers to fire-eaters.
The Chingay Parade, the largest street performance and float procession in Asia, takes place on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. The River Hongbao Festival is held from Jan. 23 to Feb. 1 along Marina Bay, with fireworks and laser shows, food and demonstrations of handicrafts.
London has one of the largest Lunar New Year celebrations outside of Asia. In 2020, the festivities will be held on Jan. 26 in Chinatown and the West End.
There’ll be performances of music, dance and comedy by up-and-coming British-Chinese artists, demonstrations of martial arts and traditional Chinese crafts, like calligraphy.
The annual parade, which steps off from Charing Cross Road, features floats and performances commemorating Chinese lions and dragons. Afterward, enjoy a New Year’s meal at a restaurant in Chinatown. The finale, including a lion dance and fireworks, takes place in Trafalgar Square.
Vancouver, B.C., with its proximity to the ocean, mountains, lakes and rivers, is one of Canada’s most beautiful cities. It’s also one of Canada’s most diverse cities, and holds a big Lunar New Year celebration.
You’ll find performances and cultural activities taking place from Jan. 17 to Feb. 2, including parades and traditional lion dances. While in Vancouver, be sure to visit the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, located in the heart of the city’s historic Chinatown and a serene spot amid the bustle of urban life. Afterward, enjoy a meal at one of the area’s many terrific Asian restaurants.
If you have a trip to Hawaii on your travel bucket list, the Lunar New Year is a festive time to visit. Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is the capital and gateway to the Aloha State. The city’s annual celebration will take place Jan. 17-18 at the Chinatown Cultural Plaza. It’s a family-friendly event with crafts and food booths and performances, including lion and dragon dances. You’ll also see the Narcissus Queen and her court visiting stores in Chinatown to bestow a blessing of good luck for the New Year.