Ringing in the Chinese New Year usually involves the smoky explosion of firecrackers, dining with family and friends, and wearing red for good luck.
CS members in Vancouver pose with the God of Wealth at the Chinese New Year Parade – Photo courtesy of Jasmine Tan
Even though it’s called Chinese New Year, the occasion (which fell on Feb 3rd this year) is celebrated in countries across Asia and in Chinatowns in Australia, Canada and the United States.
In Beijing, CouchSurfers welcomed in the New Year in style. They not only enjoyed a meal together and viewed the city’s astounding fireworks display from Beijing’s famous Drum and Bell Tower, but also did a whole lot of dancing.
Hong Kong CouchSurfers took on more a challenging activity: hiking in the scenic Kam Shan park and the Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail.
In Seoul, a jam-packed CouchSurfing weekend included a leisurely afternoon trip to a Jjimjilbong, a visit to a spa and sauna, a trip to the Buddhist Jogyesa Temple in the central area, and plenty of Tteokguk — a rice cake soup eaten during the New Year festivities for good fortune in the coming year.
Red dragon walks in the restaurant – Photo courtesy of Jasmine Tan
In New York, a small group of CSers attended the Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival and watched performances by Asian-American singers and dancers. Organizer Jasz‘s homemade cupcakes and red envelopes made the event the right amount of enchanting.
“I have never felt more welcome at an event with 49 strangers!”said Kayathri Thangarajah, one of the attendees.
“I’m a Singapore Chinese and have not really done a lot of Chinese New Year celebrations since coming to North America in 2007. It was a homesick feeling that prompted me to do something special this year with CouchSurfers.”
Thanks to her, a bunch of CouchSurfers got to make paper lanterns for the first time.