Gong Xi Fa Cai” is generally used as “Happy New Year” and literally means “Wishing a lot of wealth”.

If you could not make it to China, this is not a problem as there are many places in South East Asia which live at the rhythm of the Chinese Calendar celebrating some of the most extravagant and culturally rich Chinese New Year.

These red and golden festivities, symbol of wealth and luck can last up to a month, often starting before the day of CNY itself, however it starts to get serious on the first day of the processions, which will fall on the 19th of February 2015. As for the last day, it will be the 15th day of the lunar new year, which will be celebrated with the Lantern Festival, as well as the Chinese’s Valentines Day.

This coming new year will be the year of the Sheep, and as every year the tradition for believers is to clean the house, get new clothes, prepare a lot of food and little red envelopes filled of money for friends and family.

Which ever places you will visit in the list below will give you the opportunity to witness fascinating dragon and lion dances that are used to ward off evil spirits.

5 Destinations to Celebrate Chinese New Year in South East Asia
5 Destinations to Celebrate Chinese New Year in South East Asia – Credit to IB Times UK

Singapore

Singapore is the place to be during this CNY 2015, celebrating its 50th anniversary, Southeast Asia’s Chinese-majority city state promises the biggest and grandest Chingay parade of all time.

Performed by 11,000 colourful performers, the Chingay parade, translated from the Hokkien language “ the art of costume and masquerade”. This 27th of February 2015, be amazed by array of world class performers, dragon and lion dances, clowns, acrobats, samba dancers and more, also make sure to purchase a ticket beforehand: https://chingay.org.sg/chingay2015/ticketing-details

This is also the perfect time of the year to visit Singapore’s Chinatown and get immersed into this folklore and colourful festivities that will last throughout the whole month of February.

Illuminated by red coins, red lanterns, and the omnipresent representations of the Goat, symbolizing the year of the sheep for this Chinese New Year 2015, we guarantee you that you’ll have an unforgettable experience in Chinatown’s streets.

Singaporeans Chinese usually take about a week of holiday to celebrate the Lunar New Year, while the end of the celebrations takes place 15 days later.

If you are travelling to Singapore, find all the best things to do right here.

Chinese New Year in Singapore
Chinese New Year In Singapore – Chingay Parade 2012 Credit to Choo Yut Shing.

George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Also known for being a food paradise, Penang attracts visitors from all over the world. Being such a cultural place for gathering Chinese, Malays, and Indians living in a complete harmony, George Town has it all with its stunning colourful architecture and has been honoured to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.

During Chinese New Year, admire Kek Lok Si temple at its magnificent best, splendidly lit with thousands of red lanterns, it is also known as the temple of the Supreme Bliss and is the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia.

The Penang Chinese Community have also the tradition to visit “clan houses” which consists in an open house where friends and families usually gather around food,  playing cards and gambling games, the tradition is to offer the “ang-pau” to each other – a little red envelope usually filled with money.

As you will be wandering in the streets of George Town, do not miss the usual Chingay parades, gathering colourful dancers, drummers, and lion dances.

On the 8th day of CNY is celebrated the Hokkien New Year at the waterfront, do not miss their festivities and firework above the Penang Chew jetty.

Chinese New Year in Penang is celebrated in such an unique way that you are unlikely to forget.

If you are travelling to Penang, find all the best things to do right here.

Chinese New Year in Penang
Chinese New Year in Penang – Firework above the Kek Lok Si Temple, Credit to Gary Chuah_Associated Press Penang.

Hong Kong

While you are getting closer to China itself, what you will experience in Hong Kong for the Chinese New Year is an unique experience that could be qualified as a “once in a lifetime experience”.

Indeed,  the magazine Forbes has described it as a “world’s 10 best festival extravaganza” while the Lonely Planet says it is one of the world’s top events.

You’ll be one of the lucky ones if you planned your trip at this time of the year and the list of attractions is long.

First day of the festivities this year will be on the 19th, spectators will be owed by the traditional parade taking place in the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, together with a dozen of colored floats, and international performers following the rhythm of the orchestra.

The eagerly awaited firework will take place at the the Victoria Harbour on the next day, while the third day is dedicated to a horse racing event in Sha Tin where thousands of fans will be betting and cheering.

Lastly, if you have the opportunity to stay until the 15th day, you’ll get to see the Lantern Festival which also marks the end of the celebration, witness the presence of red lanterns spread over the city, hung in parks and restaurants, and why not making it a romantic time since this is also the “Chinese’s Valentines Day”.

If you are travelling to Hong Kong, find all the best things to do right here.

Chinese New Year in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Parade Chinese New Year

Bangkok

If we tell you that Bangkok is home to the largest Chinatown in the World (after China herself, of course), you can already guess that something big is awaiting for you. Indeed, there is a large Chinese community, but even Thai people celebrate the Lunar New Year, so this is a public holiday for everyone!

Bangkok is definitely one of the most vibrant place to witness rites and festivities of the city during the CNY in South East Asia.

Make sure you are hang around Yaowarat Road, Chinatown main street will be living at the rhythm of the festivities, such as lion and dragon dances, Chinese Opera, and a lot more of street food stalls than usual!

Get to see Bangkok from a different angle as the city will be relooked by Chinese red lanterns and living at the rhythm of the festivities, animated by firecrackers. Do take the time to visit the shrines around the Chinatown area, where you’ll be able to witness local people giving tribute to these, it is believed that it will bring you good luck for the new year.

The celebrations are usually initiated by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and being in Bangkok for CNY is known to be very “sanuk” (fun, in Thai).

If you are travelling to Bangkok, find all the best things to do right here.

Chinese New Year in Bangkok
Chinese New Year in Bangkok

Kuala Lumpur

Even though Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country, a sizable part of ethnic Chinese population live in Kuala Lumpur, which makes it a great place to celebrate Chinese New Year.

A comfortable atmosphere lays into this cultural mix where foreign visitors are most welcome to take part to the festivities, dinners, reunions, traditions, visit of the temples it the best way to make the most of the Lunar New Year in KL.

No such thing as a Chingay parade, as locals celebrate it in a more intimate way, mostly by having a open house and preparing a lot of food for their guests, do make sure to wear cheerful colors, red being the symbol of luck 🙂

Get invited to a feast while everyone dip their chopstick at the same time into the traditional dish “yee sang”, a raw fish salad mixed to vegetables. The tradition is to stand up around the symbolic dish while tossing all the shredded ingredients in the air, the highest it goes, the more prosperous you’ll be for this new year.

New Year in Kuala Lumpur
New Year in Kuala Lumpur – Yee Sang Dish, the highest it goes, the most prosperous the year will be – Credits to Big Boys Oven

Red and Golden colors are present all over the city. Lastly, a great way to attest of the lion and dragon dances is to give a visit to the many temples around the city or wander inside Chinatown. Do not miss the splendidly decorated Thean Hou temple on the 15th day, as it will be the place to be to celebrate the famous lantern festival.

If you are travelling to Kuala Lumpur, find all the best things to do right here.

Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur
Lantern Festival in Kuala Lumpur – Credit to IB Times UK

By Uriel.

 
Chiang Mai eoasia

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