January 28, 2017 –  is official start of the Year of the Fire Rooster, based on the ancient Chinese zodiac system which assigns to each year an animal and to people born under that animal sign and element a set of common traits and a distinct fate. Whether or not you are born as a Fire Rooster individual or even have Chinese blood, the Chinese way of life and belief has influenced society and lifestyle across several generations.

5 Best Places to Spend Chinese New Year 2017 lantern

People from all over the world also celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, and heralding its approach are various portentous signs that indicate Chinese culture at every corner. From red lanterns to welcome the new year to the decoration of a number of charms for good luck, there are 5 places that are great for receiving the momentous event full force:

1. Chinatown, San Francisco

San Francisco’s been celebrating the Chinese New Year since the mid-1800s, with the arrival of many Chinese immigrants to the United States of America. Now, San Francisco’s Chinatown holds one of the biggest and most lavish of such parades in the world. This 2017, the festival will be held for 15 days and features more than 100 floats, with one Golden Dragon float 28 feet long.

2. London, United Kingdom

5 Best Places to Spend Chinese New Year 2017 London

London claims that their city throws the biggest Chinese New Year party outside of China. Their own Chinese New Year Parade features lion teams that thread towards Chinatown. All around are Chinese food stalls, crafts stalls, workshops, and dance and musical performances. Acrobatics and pyrotechnics add to the explosive celebration in London, where the eateries in the vicinity decide to serve Chinese food and stage their own events.

3. Hong Kong

5 Best Places to Spend Chinese New Year 2017 Hong Kong

Hong Kongers take the Chinese New Year seriously but never forget to have fun. Hong Kong’s celebrations differ markedly from those in mainland China, and are characterised by a lot of merrymaking in the streets and even horseracing like at Sha Tin Racecourse. The latter is held on the third day of the major Spring Festival, though on the evening of the Chinese New Year itself, a night parade is observed along with live entertainment from groups from all over the world.

4. Sydney, Australia

5 Best Places to Spend Chinese New Year 2017 Sydney

However, Sydney, Australia promises the Year of the Fire Rooster 2017 to be the biggest one outside China, too. Sydney’s large Chinese population can enjoy the various enriching cultural events during the program running from January 27 to February 12, 2017. This year, the city goes all out with tall lanterns shaped after the Chinese zodiac signs and lighting famous landmarks like the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Town Hall bright red during their festival.

5. Taipei, Taiwan

5 Best Places to Spend Chinese New Year 2017 Taiwan

Taiwan regards the Lunar New Year as their most important Chinese holiday. With it comes a number of distinct traditions such as the giving of a special gift – a red envelope with cash inside – which is believed to bring peace and good fortune. Firecrackers welcome the official arrival of the new year, and visiting families and friends and eating in Taipei’s many food stalls mark the Taiwanese version of this annual passing.

5 Best Places to Spend Chinese New Year 2017 firecracker

China has spread far and wide. To partake and visit one of these 5 places during the Chinese New Year is more than a learning experience about Chinese customs and traditions but only one of the many ways to celebrate the passage of time and fortune.

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