Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year Around the World

Chinese New Year performers
Performers dance at the 2015 Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade in Hong Kong, February 19, 2015. This Chinese New Year falls on February 8 and will mark the year of the monkey. Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

On February 8, the Chinese Year of the Monkey will be upon us, so it's time to start planning how to celebrate.

Lunar New Year celebrations are normally extravagant, varied, and bright, and this year last from New Year's Eve on February 7 until the Lantern Festival on the February 22. The festivities are held to mark the turn of the Chinese zodiac calendar, divided into 12-year-long lunar cycles each represented by a different animal.

Those born in 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 or 2006 have an extra reason to celebrate in 2016 as they fall within the zodiac sign of the monkey. Even without knowing their birth year, you should be able to recognize them for their quick wit, versatility, intelligence and honesty. But also their tendency to be cunning, selfish, arrogant and suspicious.

Extravagant Lunar New Year celebrations are not limited to China, as many cities around the world that are home to large Asian populations have dedicated annual programs.

If you're looking to welcome in the monkey's big year in style, we have compiled the best offerings from around the world.

London

The British capital claims to host the largest Chinese New Year celebration outside of China.

Chinese New Year celebrations
A dragon dancer performs during a ceremony to mark Chinese New Year on February 22, 2015 in London, England. London claims to hold the largest Lunar New Year celebrations outside China. Carl Court/Getty Images

A parade will begin against the backdrop of the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square at 10 a.m. on Valentine's Day, before making its way through the West End and then settling in at Chinatown. The action returns to Trafalgar Square at 12 p.m. with performances including dance troupes, dragons and flying lion dances, and martial arts.

Chiswick House & Gardens will be hosting the first ever Magical Lantern Festival to mark the occasion. The festival, featuring artistic installations of sculpted lanterns, will take place between February 3 and March 6.

New York

For the first time in the city's history, the Lunar New Year will be marked as a school holiday. Considering one in six students is Asian, it's surprising Bill de Blasio is the first mayor to permit schools to officially observe the event.

Chinese New Year celebrations
People take part in the annual Chinese Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, New York on February 22, 2015. Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Better Chinatown Society will again be organizing the majority of public events, starting with the free Firecracker ceremony at 11 a.m. on February 8 at Sara D. Roosevelt Park, promising a range of cultural performances.

The streets of Lower Manhattan will host the Lunar Parade on February 14 at 1 p.m., beginning at the Mott & Canal before heading towards Manhattan Bridge via Chatham Square and East Broadway and ending on Eldridge and Forsyth Street.

Fireworks will illuminate the Hudson River on February 6 thanks to the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. The show will be accompanied by live music from Chinese composer Tan Dun.

Sydney

The focal point of Sydney's celebrations will be its Lunar Lanterns, located across the city between February 6 and 14.

The installation will feature 12 giant animal lanterns representing each of the Chinese zodiac signs, which the organizers promise will "delight and amaze you."

The lanterns will trail across Sydney Harbour, the central business district and Chinatown.

Paris

Parisians will again flock to the 13th arrondissement for the main parade.

Starting at 1 p.m. on Valentine's Day at the Avenue d'Ivry, the parade will snake through the Avenue de Choisy, Place d'Italie, Rue de Tolbiac and Boulevard Massena, finishing in south central Paris.

Dancers, dragons and drummers will lead a procession from the Place de la Republique on February 12 at 2 p.m. through the 3rd and 4th arrondissements.

Hong Kong

If you are lucky enough to be in Hong Kong for the New Year, you're in for a treat.

Hong Kong New Year Celebrations
Performers at the International Chinese New Year Night Parade in Hong Kong on February 19, 2015. Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

The traditional televised night parade will usher in the New Year at 8 p.m. on February 8. This year's event, themed "Playground of the World, Party of the Year," will include 13 illuminated floats gliding from the Tsim Shia Tsui, Kowloon through Canton Road, Haiphong Road, Nathan Road, and Salisbury Road.

International performers such as The Moscow Variety Show, Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders, and Japanese traditional dancers will also lend their talents to the evening's entertainment.

The following night, thousands are expected along Victoria Harbour at 8 p.m. to watch the annual fireworks display.

After spending much of the holiday praying for good luck in temples across the city, many locals will test out their fortunes at the New Year's Day race on February 10, held at the Sha Tin Racecourse.

Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year Around the World | Culture