The Chinese Lunar New Year begins today, as communities around the world prepare for the colourful festivities of the Year of the Dog. Here are just a few of the cities around the world where the celebrations will be going off.

Beijing, China

Unsurprisingly, Beijing is the place to be if you wish to witness the mother of all Chinese New Year celebrations. The city hosts a huge series of festivals, parties and worship ceremonies, with a special emphasis on family and historical tradition not seen as much in overseas celebrations. The many historical buildings and temples just add to the atmosphere. And of course, on the eve of the Lunar New Year, the skies are lit up by spectacular fireworks.

San Francisco, California

A team of men performs dragon dance during San Francisco's Chinese New Year Parade. Photo / Getty Images
A team of men performs dragon dance during San Francisco's Chinese New Year Parade. Photo / Getty Images

Outside of China, San Francisco boasts one of the oldest and largest Chinese New Year festivals. It's been celebrated in the city's Chinatown since the 1860s, with new immigrants sharing their culture with other residents. The festival includes an illuminated night parade, featuring over-the-top floats with beautiful designs, performers on stilts, marching bands and fireworks. It ends with a huge golden dragon, which takes 100 people to hold up.

Sydney, Australia

You needn't travel too far for an epic and authentic celebration - Sydney's large Chinatown precinct explodes in colour for the occasion. This year's celebrations include Lion Dances every Sunday, a Lunar Lanterns trail, and the biggest dragon boat regatta in the southern hemisphere. Restaurants around the city will also be presenting special New Year feasts - so don't forget your doggy bag. The festivities are topped off with a big fireworks display over the harbour.

Advertisement

Bangkok, Thailand

An ethnic Chinese-Thai family celebrates the Chinese New Year with candles, incense and food offerings. Photo / Getty Images
An ethnic Chinese-Thai family celebrates the Chinese New Year with candles, incense and food offerings. Photo / Getty Images

Thailand's biggest Chinatown is located in Bangkok, so naturally it's home to the biggest lunar new year celebration, drawing millions of visitors. The local Chinese community take the day off work in order to pray and pay tribute to ancestors - but also to head into town to set off firecrackers, watch dragon dancers and of course, feast on delicious food. Local Chinese businesses also offer plenty of special discounts and even free feng shui advice for customers.

Hong Kong, China

People shop for Chinese New Year decorations in Hong Kong. Photo / Getty Images
People shop for Chinese New Year decorations in Hong Kong. Photo / Getty Images

The ancient festival gets a unique makeover in Hong Kong. The city's annual parade has been sponsored by Cathay Pacific for 20 years and features intricate floats, international and local performers and street parties. There are also special New Year horse races and football games on offer for keen punters. While there is usually a spectacular fireworks display over Victoria Harbour, this year it has been cancelled out of respect for the victims of the recent Tai Po bus accident.