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The Traveller's Magazine
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Chinese communities around the world are getting ready to celebrate as the Chinese New Year quickly approaches this weekend. The whole world celebrates as big city streets around the world are decked out in bright colours for the celebrations. Find your place under the dragon in one of these five Chinatowns.

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This coming Chinese year will take the sign of the rabbit, an elegant and smart animal according the Chinese mythology. This year is said to be favourable for those working in the legal sector as well as for diplomats. Children born during this year will be happy and peaceful, especially if they are born during the summertime.

Chinese New Year (Tết New Year for the Vietnamese) is the most important festival in the Chinese calendar which has very little in common with the Western New Year. It is a spiritual feast during which the Chinese honour the dead and make wishes for the forthcoming year, an age-old tradition. Life all but stops during this week-long affair. Want to get a part of the action without travelling to China? These global Chinatowns are the perfect solution.

San Francisco

San Francisco boasts one of the liveliest and most authentic Chinatowns in the world. Close your eyes, open them: you are now in China. The Chinese community in San Francisco has roots back to the 1860s and is today one of the biggest in all of North America. The San Francisco New Year Parade is the biggest outside of Asia. 600,000 firecrackers, 100 decorated floats, dancers dressed as lions, Miss Chinatown USA… the Dragon Parade is 60m long and it takes more than 100 men and women to wear it. Don’t forget you’re also in America! The parade is openly sponsored by SouthWest Airlines.

February 19th, 2011 at 5:30pm, flights to San Francisco starting at £345 (rtn)

Chinatown San Francisco

Paris

Did you know that Paris is home to one of largest Chinese communities in the world, calling the 13th district their home away from home? The entire neighbourhood will be dressed to the nines this Chinese New Year and if you are visiting Paris, make it a priority to visit the festivities. Of course, what better reason than to plan a last minute trip to the French capital? Where to go? Place d’Italie, Avenue d’Ivry and Avenue de Choisy. What’s really cool about Paris though is that there are two Chinatowns, thus two parades. One in Belleville and the other in the 3rd district. So don’t worry, there are plenty of opportunities to go and see the dragon.

February 6th, 2011in the early afternoon in the 13th, 20th and 3rd districts. Flights to Paris starting at £66 (rtn)

Manchester

Everyone living in Manchester’s Chinatown, located right in the centre of the city, are getting ready to welcome the year of the rabbit. The Chinese community settled in this British city in the 1940s, making it one of the oldest and the most active in the UK. The grand parade will take place this year on Sunday, February 11th at 11:00am, starting from City Hall. What can you expect? Dragon dances, parades kung-fu demonstrations, Asian sweets for sale… Artisans take advantage of the occasion, selling their wares on the streets. There are also a number of events geared towards children. The highlight of the festival takes place at 7:00pm with a fantastic fireworks show.

February 6th, 2011, flights to Manchester starting at £88 (rtn)

Manchester Chinatown

New York

The Asian community in the Big Apple is anxiously waiting for the big day, February 3rd. Festivities will begin in Roosevelt Park Street between Grand and Hester Street. From 11:00am, the streets will fill with lions and dragons at the big parade, many local celebrities will be there as well. New York, being the ultra-safe city that is it, has banned inner city fireworks and firecrackers. Console yourself by tasting some the local flavours. More information is available at www.chintown-online.com.

February 3rd, 2011 at 11:00am, flights London – New York City starting at £308 (rtn).

NYC Dragon

Mexico

Who would have guessed? There is even a Chinatown in Mexico City as well as a New Year’s parade, although smaller than the once mentioned above, just as fun! Small dragons flap their winds in the Barrio Chino, a pedestrian suburb. There may only be 3,000 Chinese families in Mexico, but they certainly make themselves known, especially at this time of the year. This year Chinese New Year falls right after the Mexican holiday, Constitution Day. The cultural mix will definitely be worthwhile.

February 5th and 6th, 2011 in the streets of the Barrio Chino. Fly to Mexico starting at £517(rtn).

Have you ever been to a Chinese New Year parade?

Imgs: Mexican dragon – Esparta / San Francisco – davidyuweb / Manchester – Benandbarnet / dragon New York, twinxamot, Flickr cc.

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3 responses to “Top 5 Chinatowns: Chinese New Year around the world

  1. Hi are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own.

    Do you need any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Lynwood,
      Yes, our blog is hosted by WordPress and it’s very easy to make your own using a pre-made template, that way you don’t really need to have too much html knowledge.
      Best of luck!

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