Chinese New Year: Festival of Lights!

Chinese New Year: Festival of Lights!

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Chinese New Year: Festival of Lights!

Chinese New Year: Festival of Lights!

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Chinese New Year: Festival of Lights!

Chinese New Year: Festival of Lights!

Chinese New Year: Festival of Lights!

Chinese New Year: Festival of Lights!

Chinese New Year: Festival of Lights!

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Chinese New Year: Festival of Lights!

Happy Chinese New Year!! After weeks of anticipation, the day has finally come. Last night at midnight, we watched fire works light up the sky from our balcony. And today, we headed out to celebrate the new year- the year of the dog!

Trenton and I, along with twelve other expats, went to the Festival of Lights! We were told that this was the best place in the city to celebrate. So we boarded a bus and were on our way! Except…the closer we got to the festival, the more crowded the bus became. Stop after stop, people piled on, and no one was getting off. We were all smooshed together in the most uncomfortable way! {And my new Kate Spade winter hat is now missing, sadly, and I’m blaming this bus trip!} By the time we finally got to our destination, stepping out into the smog felt like a breath of fresh air.

We then headed inside! And the crowds were insane. So insane we lost pieces of our group before we even bought our tickets. If you have ever gone to Disney between Christmas and New Years, then you’ll understand what type of crowds I’m talking about. But hey, we were told to go on this day to get the full, authentic, cultural experience. And we sure did!

Inside the giant park, there was big light displays, booths set up selling all kinds of food, endless shops, and a huge concert area. It was still light out when we arrived so I was able to get a few photos.  First, we headed straight for the food.

The food booths were vary similar to what you would think of in any other major fair, except the food was all Asian. And it was super cheap. To start off, we ordered some fries. It’s always a gamble ordering fries because they could either taste amazing or awful. And these ones were the latter. Luckily, Trenton was so hungry he ate them anyway. Next, we ordered some steamed buns with meat. These were rather tasteless, but edible. We looked at booth after booth, which was hard to do since the crowds were so thick it was hard to see what was for sale, and we ended up ordering a meat pastry with wah jow- a Chinese numbing spice that makes your mouth go numb. Ha! Again, Trenton ate that one cause I wasn’t a fan. He was like, “Courtney, I can’t feel my tongue!” I was dying. Eventually, we spotted some pineapple rice baked inside a pineapple and I knew this was something I would like. And I did! It was so delicious. We also got popcorn and ice cream, because it is a holiday after all.

We then toured the park with our friends, checked out the lights, and headed home- this time on the metro! And we stopped at KFC because I wanted some good fries after the awful fries I had earlier in the night. I love Chinese food, but sometimes I just need a little taste of something normal-to-me to help keep me sane in this new, foreign world. (Even though I never ate KFC in the states- haha!)

Now we are back home and watching The Office.

All in all, a great New Year’s Day.

And I’m just glad we have another week to celebrate… and then we head to Hong Kong!

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Have you ever celebrated Chinese New Year? What is your favorite Chinese food? Maybe you could head to your local Chinese restaurant to celebrate! Perfect excuse for some chow mein, right?!

You can check out some videos of my night at the festival over on my Insta page: @courtneylivin

Make sure to give this post a share on your fave Pinterest board and don’t forget to give me a follow: @courtneylivin

Zhōngguó nónglì xīnnián kuàilè ♥

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Hey ya'll! I'm Courtney, and I'm a Florida-born gal learning to live in East Asia. You can find travel tips, fashion inspo, and my daily adventures right here on my blog. My hope is that this blog will help inspire you to live your best life! Make sure to check out my book, The Smart Girl's Guide to Surviving Her Twenties, for more tips on how to survive, and thrive, throughout the most transformative decade of your life.

62 thoughts on “Chinese New Year: Festival of Lights!

  1. Happy Chinese New Year! Happy year of the dogs! I was browsing the web and landed on your blog, and all your posts about China is a delight! I hope you’re having a fun time here! 你太可爱了!成都欢迎你!🐼 (PS, the Chinese numbing spice is 花椒, which is pronounced “Hua-jiao”! :’) love your posts!)

    – love from a local

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a beautiful festival! You’re right about Western food in Asia. Good American food is almost impossible to get, outside of the luxury hotels- and even then…. I had to tell myself, “Look, this is not why you are in Korea (and later, Taiwan).

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I have attended Lunar new year twice in china and vietnam, its an experience in its own. Only down side is whole county closes during the festival. Ur pictures are very nice 👍

    Like

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