Published on February 1st, 2019 | by Alyssa Daniells0
How The World Celebrates Lunar New Year in 2019
Communities around the globe will ring in the Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year) on February 5, 2019. In fact, more than 20% of the world’s population observes this festive and sacred holiday.
Countries across Asia, as well as other international cities, celebrate Lunar New Year with spectacular fireworks displays, sumptuous food spreads and colourful decorations–especially the lucky colour red ( which we at Flight Centre, not surprisingly, happen to be partial to!)
Lunar Year of the Pig
Oink! 2019 is the Year of the Pig, which is associated with wealth and good fortune. As travellers, we connect this to the wealth of experiences travel bestows. As the saying goes, “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
With the luck of the pig in your favour, there’s no better time to crack open your piggy bank and travel.
Where will you visit this year? On that note, here are some of the cities where Lunar New Year will be observed internationally.
Lunar celebrations in Hong Kong are of the “go big or go home” calibre — and to give you an idea of just how big, put it this way, no one is going home! The 3-day festival includes a jubilant night parade, exciting horse racing and magnificent firework displays over Causeway Bay. Hong Kong is famous for its gastronomy, so it’s no surprise food plays an important role in local New Year festivities. Restaurants buzz morning to night with steaming and sizzling dishes, and hungry, joyous revellers. A must-try is nin gou, Cantonese new year cake, a sweet, glutinous rice cake that symbolizes togetherness, and dates back to ancient China.
Elaborate events mark the Lunar New Year in Singapore, where traditional Chinese elements fuse with the multiculturalism for which Singapore is known. The dazzling Chingay Parade is a perfect example, bringing Malays, Indians, Europeans and Chinese alike in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Like Hong Kong, this city-state also takes food seriously. Singapore is a cultural melting pot, with Chinese descendants making up the majority. Speaking of pot, a beloved new year dish is the hot pot, a large, shared soup of meat, seafood, rice noodles, and vegetables. And who doesn’t love the slurpy, spicy, savoury goodness of Singapore noodles? Representing long life, noodles are an important culinary tradition during Lunar New Year.
The largest Asian population in the United States is in San Francisco, with 21.5% claiming Chinese descent. San Fran’s vibrant Chinatown attracts both tourists and locals throughout the year. Lunar New Year is especially a large draw, with dragon dances, lanterns and a famous parade. The area’s population doubles in size (and thanks to the delicious food offerings, don’t be surprised if your waistline does, too!) Feast on crab legs, fried fish dumplings, and Chinese-American food, then walk it off roaming Chinatown’s New Year Flower Market Fair.
A small, tropical island surrounded by the Indian Ocean may not come to mind when we think of Lunar New Year festivities. Mauritius, in fact, has a has a large Chinese community, descended from immigrants who came as business owners and traders in the 19th century, and live mainly in Port Louis, where the biggest parties are. The Lunar New Year marks the impending spring, and the gorgeous white beaches, calm, turquoise ocean and tropical greenery of Mauritius are warm and hopeful reminders of good weather ahead. Not to mention, they make a stunning backdrop for traditional festivities with an exotic, Mauritian twist.
In stark contrast to the idyllic conditions mentioned above, The Year of the Pig in Canada will be observed in a cold climate. Luckily, there will be plenty of delicious food and body heat to warm up celebrants! Canada’s two biggest cities, Vancouver and Toronto, have large and well-established East Asian residents, working together with local city governments to joyfully rouse cultural awareness and community spirit. In Toronto, a long-standing tradition of dragon dances will be performed in Chinatowns on Spadina Avenue and in Markham on February 10, 2019. On the same date in Vancouver, families of all ethnicities will descend on the city’s Chinatown for its 46th annual New Year parade.
Ready to celebrate the Lunar New Year? Our lucky red storefronts are the place to go to book travel to any of these destinations, or anywhere in the world.