One of the most important traditional holidays in China is Chinese New Year, which is also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. What makes it unique from other holidays is that it is celebrated in several countries differently, with each of them having their own traditions and customs.
This year is marked as "Year of the Monkey" as Monkey is the ninth in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac. As the world celebrates Chinese New Year on Monday, 8 February, here are 3 Asian countries other than China that are the best places to celebrate Chinese New Year in 2016.
Singapore celebrates Chinese New Year grandly as the nation is comprised of a diverse ethnicity that includes Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian people.
One of the most prominent parts of celebration in Singapore is combining of old and new traditions as well as the elements adapted from other cultures.
The festival ranges from giant lanterns display to traditional song and dance. It also includes exotic delicacies and spectacular firework.
Visitors across the world have been gathering at the River Hongbao since 1987 to witness the spectacular festivals that includes huge Chinese lanterns, traditional song and dance, exotic delicacies and fantastic firework displays.
One of the major events in Singapore to celebrate Chinese New Year is Chingay Parade – a street and float parade that is the largest of its kind in Asia. The parade also includes dancing dragons, stunt performers and lion walkers.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The city of Kuala Lumpur is abuzz with various events on Chinese New Year that includes decoration with "Duilian" (Poem written on a pair of scrolls), distribution of "Angpau" or "Ang Pow" that are red packets containing money as a goodluck charm and visiting families and friends.
One of the most unique New Year traditions in Malaysia is open house celebration, where the homes are open for friends and family to visit regardless of race and religion.
Fireworks are another major attraction of the Chinese New Year in Malaysia. The most spectacular fireworks can be seen in several areas of Kuala Lumpur like Chinatown, Old Klang Road/Kuchai Lama and areas of Petaling Jaya.
Hokkien Chinese, who live in Malaysia, also celebrate the ninth day of Chinese New Year with fireworks to celebrate the birthday of Jade Emperor.
The biggest Chinese New Year celebration of Thailand takes place in Bangkok, which is home to the largest Chinatown in Thailand.
Usually, the celebration occurs for three consecutive days with most of the festivities taking place on the New Year day.
Thai Princess opens the celebration and she also participates in the festivals. Temples are full with devotees and tourists at the day time and the parade starts around noon.
A wide array of dancers, performers, lanterns and drummers take part in the parade that marches through all the major streets of the city.
During night, red lanterns light the sky in a beautiful shade of red. The show stopper of the nighttime parade is huge dancing dragon that is lit with LED lights and other traditional decorations.
The main stage near Chinatown Gate is occupied by acrobats and street performers drawing and designing traditional Chinese arts.