(Relaxnews) - From London to Dubai, the world is poised to throw the second big new year party of the year, with the Chinese lunar festival set to kick off this week.
Festivities are being planned the world over to help ring in the lunar new year, celebrated not only by the Chinese but also by Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese cultures.
And while no doubt the revelry is to help Asians fete their biggest holiday of the calendar year, it’s also worth noting that some of the biggest parties planned outside China are within cities that are actively wooing Chinese business and visitors an affluent and mobile market.
In 2012, Chinese travellers spent $102 billion overseas, making them the world's biggest spenders ahead of Germans and US tourists.
Last year, it's estimated that around 97 million Chinese tourists visited foreign destinations.
In response, London's tourism office created a Chinese-language website last year to promote their city among the Chinese.
And to help them feel at home, the entire city will erupt in a revelry starting with the London Eye, which will be lit in red and gold to mark the occasion on January 30. Major landmarks and meeting places like Trafalgar Square, and Leicester Square will likewise host colourful shows and stalls, while the highly anticipated Chinese parade will wind along Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue on Sunday, February 2.
Madame Tussauds will also present a special collection of Chinese celebrities while the British Film Institute will pay homage by playing Chinese films.
Here’s how the lunar new year will be celebrated around the world:
If you’re lucky enough to be in Hong Kong over the new year, be sure to secure a spot on either side of the Victoria Harbour between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui February 1, when the skies light up in a spectacular fireworks display. The show begins at 8 pm.
On January 31, the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade lights up the streets, bringing a carnival atmosphere to Hong Kong with illuminated floats and flashy costumes. Though stand seats are sold out, spectators can still watch along the parade route which starts at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza in Tsim Sha Tsui and ends at the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers.
Like London, the City of Light is also in hot pursuit of affluent and mobile Chinese visitors, and will be putting on not one, not two, but three different parades across the city over the next two weeks. The biggest parade, meanwhile, is scheduled for Sunday, February 9 in the city’s biggest Chinatown, the 13th arrondissement, where a spectacle of happy, prancing dragons attracts nearly 200,000 spectators.
For a more sophisticated and quieter evening, meanwhile, consider a gourmet dim sum meal at the Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant Shang Palace at the Shangri-La hotel, which will be hosting its own party.
In addition to a private lion dance, the restaurant will be hosting a €128 ($195) or €188 (286) menu that includes dishes of good fortune and luck like chicken and cabbage dumplings (meant to symbolize wealth) and sweet and sour sea bass (which also represents abundance).
Until February 1, the luxury resort Madinat Jumeirah fetes the lunar new year with everything from a troupe of Chinese circus performers to a recreation of Chinese street food stalls, and a gourmet Chinese meal at the hotel’s luxury Zheng He’s restaurant. Dinner is 388 AED ($118) or 488 AED ($148) per person.
In true Vegas style, the Wynn hotel has pulled out all the stops this year, putting three 800-pound golden Tang Dynasty horse sculptures on display to commemorate the year of the horse. In addition to a parade that will wind through the hotel casino, complete with a 90-foot dragon, eight lions and firecrackers, the resort’s gourmet Chinese restaurant Wing Lei hosts a special dim sum lunch buffet from Jan. 30 to Feb. 9.
The lunar new year starts January 31 and ends February 14.
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