Chinese New Year 2017 in Review

Roughly around a sixth of the world observes Chinese New Year, with eclectic celebrations taking place in communities all around the world. The festivities kicked off with a bang at the end of January, as the rooster zodiac sign made a celebrated return to claim ownership of the year ahead, serving as a symbol of punctuality and fidelity. Unlike the Gregorian year, this one will last until the 15th of February 2018, with the opening parties continuing until the 15th day of the new year when the Lantern Festival takes place. There are many traditional rules to followed on the big day, ranging from a ban on eating porridge and sweeping up, to medicine being off limits. And whilst these may hint at a formal affair, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as the streets become vibrant carnivals centered around friends and family, a rich culture and bags of tradition. Here’s a glimpse at some of the celebrations to have taken place around the world this year.

Chinese New Year Singapore
Image source: Choo Yut Shing Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Despite being a nation comprised mostly of Malaysian, Indian and Chinese communities, the entire country comes together in celebration of the coming New Year to enjoy epic displays of Chinese tradition, old and new.  This year saw a 13 metre tall rooster lantern stretching over 100 metres take to the streets before making its way along the River Hongbao. Surrounded by song and dance, red lanterns, fireworks and parades, the celebrations were some of the biggest and animated the country has ever seen. The prize for the most spectacular entertainment goes to the Chingay Parade, the largest street and float parade in Asia, which is renowned for drawing in visitors from all over the world.


Chinese New Year DC
Image source: John Sonderman Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Following a roller coaster week that consisted of rather more downs more than ups, Washington DC tried its very best wash away the bitter taste of inauguration week to make way for the bells and whistles of the Chinese New Year celebrations. The traditional Chinese Friendship Arch marks the beginning of Chinatown on 7th street, which is where the parade began. Chinese Dragons, local spiritual organisations, children and the Qilin – the Chinese mythical beast – were all part of the parade, leaving no time for Trump-related despair as the many DC communities came together for a day centered around hope and positivity.

Chinese New Year Manchester
Image source: Mark Bellingham Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The dark and wintery streets of Manchester were brought to life with cascades of light, as everything from pop up exhibitions to home cooked street food marked the arrival of Chinese New Year. Led by a 175-foot golden dragon, the celebrations began in Albert Square and ended in, you guessed it, Chinatown. Thousands of revelers took to the streets, marking it one of the biggest celebrations to be seen across the country, which is no surprise considering the city is home to one of the largest and oldest Chinese communities in the UK. With fireworks, parades, markets and performances all on offer, it was The Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors that stole the show. Since the bespoke lighting exhibition was first commissioned for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the 40 lantern warriors have been displayed in iconic locations the world over, arriving at the heart of Manchester where they stood boldly for four days.


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