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5 Places for international students to celebrate Chinese New Year this 2017

Crowds walk underneath lanterns hanging in Chinatown in London to celebrate the Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009. Image via AP.

Tomorrow is the Lunar New Year and marks the start of the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese lunar calendar. It’s a time for celebration with family, friends, and food in China and many other Asian countries such as Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam etc.

But not all Asian students who celebrate the Lunar New Year can head home to their families and their hometowns, especially those studying thousands of miles away. However, that shouldn’t stop them from bringing the celebration to where they are, be it in their country’s capital or their university campus!

Here are five places to usher in a clucking new year:

1. City Parades

People gather in Trafalgar Square, central London during celebrations for the Chinese New Year in the lunar calendar, the beginning of the year of the Tiger, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010. Image via AP.

Many cities will have colourful parades making their way through main roads with their riotous fanfare. London, which has the biggest Chinese New Year celebration outside Asia, will have six hand-crafted floats and the largest gathering of Chinese lion and dragon dance, starting from Charing Cross Road to Shaftesbury Avenue. Other cities like Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Sydney and many more will also be hosting their own parades that you can join in!

2. Chinatown

This Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 photo shows lanterns and prayers as they hang at the Tin How Temple in Chinatown in San Francisco. Image via AP.

Chinatown everywhere will be decked red with decorations and activities during this 15-day long Spring Festival. Head down to your local Chinatown to watch a lion dance, a tradition to bring in luck for the new year or dig in to the special dishes that restaurants will prepare only once a year.

3. Temples

People pray in celebration of the Chinese and Vietnamese Lunar New Year outside the Thien Hau Temple in the Chinatown district of Los Angeles, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Image via AP.

On the eve or first day of the new year, many Chinese head to temples to pray for a prosperous new year ahead, make offerings to the deities, and light firecrackers to scare the evil spirits away. You may be away from home, but going through these familiar rituals can give you a serene feeling, and may even put a smile on your face!

4. Parks

Lion dancers perform during the Asian Lunar New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival, in Roosevelt Park, in New York’s Chinatown, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. Image via AP.

Cities like Sydney will be transforming its Pyrmont Bay Park into a pop-up food festival filled with Asian cuisine, live entertainment, and culture. Whereas Bangkok’s Lumphini Park will be having a Thai-styled celebration and New York City’s Sara Delano Roosevelt Park will feature a firecracker ceremony and cultural festival. Head to your local park to join the revelry or you can organise your very own picnic there!

5. Your own university!

Image via Shutterstock.

What better way to usher in the new year than in the comfort of your dorm or hall, surrounded by your closest friends? Even better, you can cook your family’s signature dish to share with your uni mates for a intimate cultural exchange. Play some card games and put on some red clothes, and you’ve got a party. After all, what are friends but family you can choose?

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Happy Lunar New Year 2017!

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