Chinese New Year

Will you be celebrating Chinese New Year this year? In the Chinese world the New Year celebrations often last for 15 days, complete with firecrackers, traditional entertainment and amazing feasts. Each year, the date changes, as it's linked to a lunar calendar (decided by the cycle of the moon), and it can fall between the end of January to mid-February. In 2010, the Chinese New Year is on the 14 February.

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The Chinese also have their own zodiac associated with their calendar, and this year it will be the Year of the Tiger. If an individual is born within a certain year, they are meant to have the animal's characteristics. People born under the "tiger" are said to be sensitive, adventurous and suspicious.

There are many Chinese communities throughout the world - here a just a few where Chinese New Year celebrations will be expected for 2010.

If you can, go to China itself. The Chinese New Year will be celebrated in style, with the red lantern festival, amazing pyrotechnics and street displays. The China National Tourist Office will have information on travel and accommodation. In Hong Kong, now part of China, the festivities surpass anything in other cities. There is a famous International Chinese New Year Parade, which has acrobatics and amazing displays, and has to be seen.

Chinese New Year celebrations have been a tradition in San Francisco, America, since just after the Gold Rush. If you can get there, don't miss the amazing street parade with floats, elaborate costumes, ferocious lions, golden dragon and exploding firecrackers - plus the illuminated night parade. The parade and festival have grown to be the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia.

In London, the Chinese community hold the celebrations the first Sunday after the Chinese New Year. There is a red lion dance parade through Chinatown and the surrounding areas, along with Chinese arts and entertainment. The celebrations will finish with a fireworks display in Leicester Square.

Have you been to Chinese New Year celebrations? Leave a comment and tell us about it.