7 Best Cities Outside of China to Ring in Chinese New Year

Australia Chinese New Year
Associated Press
The most important social holiday in China, Chinese New Year is tied to the lunar Chinese calendar, where every month begins on the darkest day. The holiday usually falls at the end of January or beginning of February. This year its Jan. 31 -- hey, that's today!-- and marks the Year of the Horse; people born in this year are said to be clever, kind, animated and energetic. Ready to celebrate? Here are the top seven cities outside of China that are going to be full of festivities.

1. Vancouver

About 18 percent or residents in Canada's main West Coast are ethnic Chinese, creating an active and dynamic Chinatown. This year makes the city's 41st Chinese New Year Parade and official Chinatown Spring Festival.

2. San Francisco

With its vibrant Chinatown, San Francisco is home to many Chinese New Year festivities, most notably its Chinese New Year Parade. Started just after the Gold Rush, it's an annual affair, with more than 100 parade units and 1 million spectators along the parade route.

3. Los Angeles

Not to be outdone by its rival to the north, Los Angeles hosts two weeks of events in celebration of the New Year, including the Golden Dragon Parade, now in its 115th year. There is also a Midnight Temple Ceremony to welcome the Year of the Horse.

4. Singapore

In multicultural Singapore, Chinese New Year is a major affair. There are dance troupes, fire eaters and lion dancers as well as art installations and plenty of street food.

5. Sydney

Australia's largest city is home to extensive Chinese New Year celebrating, with events taking place from January 24 to February 9, 2014. There are Chinese New Year markets, dragon boat races and a Dragon Ball, full of cocktails and dancing.

6. New York City

New York City hosts the popular Lunar New Year Parade and Festival, with approximately 10,000 marchers and half a million spectators checking out the parade that goes through Little Italy and Lower Manhattan and ends up in Chinatown. With a large local Chinese population, there are many celebrations and lots of cultural events organized by the Chinatown Partnership.

7. London

The largest celebrations outside of Asia, London's Chinese New Year events attract hundreds of thousands of people to the West End. In the morning there is a parade, followed by performances by Chinese artists. And, of course, there will be a few lion teams sneaking around as well.

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