The most beautiful Lunar New Year celebrations around the world

From Europe to Asia, and everywhere in between, the Year of the Pig festivities are in full swing

Image: Yang Xiaozhe
Whether you know the Lunar New Year as Chinese New Year, Tet or Seollal, the beginning of the lunar calendar is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts for everyone.

We've picked the most gorgeous of this year's Lunar New Year celebrations from extravagant street parades to raucous day parties that carry into the night, illuminated life-sized lanterns and stunning pyrotechnic displays. Here's how the world is saying goodbye to the Year of the Dog and welcoming in the Year of the Pig.

新年快乐/Happy Chinese New Year!

By Rebecca Zhuang
Chicago's Lunar New Year Parade

Chicago's Lunar New Year Parade

Taking place in the heart of Chinatown, Chicago's Lunar New Year annual parade draws marchers from Wentworth Avenue and 24th Street up to Cermak Road. The crowd of 30,000 spectators followed a trail of marching bands, colourful floats, traditional dancing lion and dragon teams as they parade throughout the Chinatown precinct. Read more.

Image: Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation courtesy of Time Out Global

Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake

Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake

Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake fireworks are so unmissable that the Vietnamese government skipped this year's Gregorian New Year fireworks, so they could focus only on Tet (Vietnamese for Lunar New Year). The fifteen-minute pyrotechnic show kicked off at midnight, with musical and artistic performances coming in the lead-up. Read more.

Image: Dan Iernutan via rovenimages.com

Kuala Lumpur's Thean Hou Temple

Kuala Lumpur's Thean Hou Temple

Thean Hou Temple is one of Malaysia's largest and oldest temples. Adorned in hundreds of glowing red lanterns, this majestic six-tiered temple draws in thousands of festivalgoers annually to celebrate the new year. This year, visitors enjoyed a string of activities, performances, and installations including a series of shows which centre around one of China's most renowned characters – the aptly named 'Pigsy'. Read more.

Image: Fazli Zainordin courtesy of Time Out Global

London's Trafalgar Square celebrations

London's Trafalgar Square celebrations

London's Lunar New Year celebrations are said to be some of the biggest outside of Asia. Coming together in Trafalgar Square, the jam-packed schedule included traditional dragon and flying lion dances, performances of traditional Chinese dance and acrobatics, interactive dance sessions and of course, a mouthwatering selection of delicious street food. Read more.

Image: Lalitphat Phunchuang courtesy of Time Out Global

Los Angeles' Golden Dragon Parade

Los Angeles' Golden Dragon Parade

This year, Los Angeles celebrated the 120th year of its historic Golden Dragon Parade – yes, this event is even older than LA's famous Hollywood sign! Each year hundreds of thousands of festivalgoers sprawl along North Broadway to witness a celebration of culture, history, and tradition as floats, marching bands and costumes pass them by. Read more.

Image: Thomas Desperyroux courtesy of Time Out Global

Manchester's St Ann's Square

Manchester's St Ann's Square

Manchester is home to the UK's largest and oldest Chinese community, so it seems only fitting that its celebrations are some of the UK's best. This Lunar New Year, St Ann's Square became home to an enormous pig sculpture, created by the world-renowned artist, Alex Rinsler. Surrounding the pig was a circle of piggy banks where visitors could drop a donation to Manchester's less fortunate – mimicking the Chinese tradition of giving hongbao to friends and family. Read more.

Image: Phil Tragen courtesy of Time Out Global

New York's Firecracker Ceremony and Festival

New York's Firecracker Ceremony and Festival

What do 600,000 firecrackers crackling in the sky sound like? It sounds exactly like the banishment of an entire city's worth of evil spirits. Every year, herds of New Yorkers head to Sara D Roosevelt Park for the traditional firecracker release in order to ward off the bad omens of the past year. And, for those who still have their eardrums in check, there's lion dancing and parades to carry them into the streets of Chinatown after. Read more.

Image: Joe Buglewicz courtesy of Time Out Global

Seoul's Fortune Party

Seoul's Fortune Party

During Lunar New Year, the bustling city of Seoul becomes relatively quiet as people head back home to celebrate with their families. But every year, Seoul's Korean Folk Village holds its Fortune Party where visitors can take part in traditional activities and events, including daljiptaeugi (ritual burning to bring upon good harvest and peace), sharing tteokguk (traditional rice cake soup) and more. Read more.

Image: Korea Tourism Organisation courtesy of Time Out Global

Shanghai's Yuyuan Lantern Festival

Shanghai's Yuyuan Lantern Festival

Every year, Shanghai's Yuyuan draws millions of visitors for its world-class display of lanterns. The luminous creations come in all different shapes, sizes, and colours, depicting everything from fish (representing wealth and prosperity) to dragons (to represent good luck) – and of course, pigs. There's even a series of lanterns scrawled with riddles for those wanting to flex their brain muscles in front of friends and family. Read more.


Image: Amy Snelling courtesy of Time Out Shanghai

Singapore's Chingay

Singapore's Chingay

Every year Singapore hosts a kaleidoscopic street parade called Chingay, which translates to 'the art of costume and masquerade'. Basically, it's a massive street parade fitted out with dazzling floats, colourful costumes, live performances, intricate props and fireworks. This year's Chingay event commemorated the Singapore Bicentennial, the 200th anniversary of the founding of modern Singapore, and we're betting it was bigger and better than ever. Read more.

Image: courtesy of Time Out Global

Tai Chi at the Sydney Opera House

Tai Chi at the Sydney Opera House

Sydneysiders were given the chance to take a tai chi class in front of the city's iconic sails for the Lunar New Year. The practice of tai chi is a spiritual one, bringing tranquillity and peace of mind to the participant, while also providing the expected health benefits of physical activity. Read more.

Image: Daniel Boud courtesy of Time Out Global

Tokyo's Chinese Spring Festival

Tokyo's Chinese Spring Festival

Tokyo's Yokohama district is chaotic even without a global celebration like Lunar New Year. Throw that in the mix and you've got a debaucherous couple of weeks in Japan's little China. To celebrate the 33rd year of the event, the district hosted a programme of activities and installations, including a massive countdown party (Feb 4); a parade of traditional costumes (Feb 16) and a spectacular Lantern Festival (Feb 19). Read more.

Image: courtesy of Time Out Global

Vancouver's Chinatown Spring Festival Parade

Vancouver's Chinatown Spring Festival Parade

Vancouver’s Spring Festival Parade is a celebration of the city's rich multiculturalism. Ringing in its 46th year, the parade is drew crowds of 100,000 as herds of people made their way from Millennium Gate to Keefer at Abbott. There was a dazzling display of traditional lion dance teams, martial arts, dance troupes and more. Read more.

Image: Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver courtesy of Time Out Global

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