In Chinese astrology, each year is symbolized by one of twelve animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig) and one of five elements (metal, water, fire, wood or earth). The animal - element combination occurs every 60 years, and this year is the "Year of the Red Fire Monkey" (red for the color of fire).
Chinese New Year, which is also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is a celebration that lasts over a period of 16 days. The first day of the Chinese calendar in 2016 is Monday, February 8, and in 2017, New Year's will be celebrated on January 28, 2017. It's never too soon to start planning a trip to take in the Spring Festival experience next year!
- Auckland: Auckland celebrates the Spring Festival with a Lantern Festival that includes over 800 handmade Chinese lanterns, Chinese art and crafts and the traditional performances and festivities.
- Bangkok: Although not a public holiday in Bangkok, members of the Chinese community usually take time off to celebrate. New Year's eve is a time to pray to the gods and pay respect to their ancestors. Festivities are held in Chinatown, when the town literally turns "red". Dragon parades, acrobatic dances and firecrackers should not be missed.
- Helsinki: Helsinki doesn't sound like a place one would celebrate Chinese New Year, but they have partnered with Beijing since 2007. The celebration includes performers from both Helsinki and Beijing as well as a video feed from Beijing's festivities.
- Hong Kong: The Spring Festival is the biggest and most colorful celebration of the year in Hong Kong. A parade of floats, international and local performers, a 3D light show and fireworks over the harbor are just a few highlights of activities over the 2 week celebration.
- Kuala Lumpur: KL has a very large Chinese community, so no doubt the city has a special New Year's celebration. The first two days are public holidays which means everyone will be out enjoying the festivities.
- Las Vegas: Chinese New Year in Las Vegas is a sight to see. Resorts transform themselves with extravagant displays and décor. Las Vegas also hosts the Spring Festival in the Desert (in its 5th year in 2016), cultural events held in multiple venues across the city. Forbes has called Las Vegas one of the top 8 places to celebrate in the US.
- London: London boasts the largest celebration outside of Asia. The festivities center primarily in Chinatown and on the parade that runs from Trafalgar Square and ends in Chinatown. Cultural performances can be seen at multiple venues, with thousands of people in attendance.
- Los Angeles: LA has a number of activities over the two weeks, including the Chinatown Firecracker 5k/10K run, Los Angeles marathon and Golden Dragon Parade.
- New York City: New York celebrates over several days, starting with the Firecracker Festival. The most prominent event is the annual Lunar Year parade with plenty of dragons dances and floats, and of course the best food can be found in Chinatown.
- Paris: Paris is another city one wouldn't readily think of as having a Chinese New Year celebration. But the "City of Lights" really lights up and holds cultural events including the dragon parade and Asian art exhibits at multiple venues over a 2 week period.
- San Francisco: The San Francisco celebration is one of the largest and oldest celebrations outside of Asia. The parade dates back to the 1860's when Chinese immigrants came to the US as part of the Gold Rush in California. More than 3 million watch this parade each year.
- Singapore: Chinese New Year is a 2 day public holiday and the festivities include many of the customs and traditions you'll find in other cities. The Reunion Dinner, feasting with family, is the heart of Chinese New Year.
- Sydney: Chinese New Year is one of the biggest events held in Australia. The festival includes the traditional parade, exhibition, concerts and dragon boat races. Check out some scenes from the 2015 festival. Melbourne holds an equally exciting festival as well.
- Vancouver: Given Vancouver's significant Chinese population, Chinese New Year has become a major event in the city. One does not want to miss Chinatown's parade and events being held at the International Village.
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