The Chinese New Year (CNY), or Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is one of the most important holidays in China, which must be experienced live. If you plan to be in Shanghai during this time, there is a lot going on in the city that is worth checking out.
Chinese New Year in Shanghai: 6 ideas
1. Yuyuan Folk Art Lantern Festival – New Year Lights
In addition to seeing the lanterns in Yuyuan Garden, there are delicious food, exciting activities, and full-discount New Year’s products.
2. Guangfulin Blessing Temple Fair
At the Guangfulin Cultural Site in Songjiang District, visitors can enjoy a heritage and underwater museum for 40 yuan.
3. Experience the folk customs of Zhujiajiao
Zhujiajiao Water Town is open around the clock. Zhujiajiao is an ideal place to experience folk customs through the strong New Year’s atmosphere, festive decorations and local people’s celebrations.
4. New Year Flower Show at Shanghai Botanical Garden
Widely popular in recent years, the exhibit will include horned orchids, snail orchids and petunias.
5. Zuibaichi Spring Festival Activity Garden
In addition to numerous lanterns, there are poems by Dashen, paintings and calligraphy by Dong Qichang, the twenty-four landscapes of Songjiang, and other items of Shanghai’s intangible cultural heritage.
6. Fangtayuan New Year Amusement Park
Tianfei Palace’s blessing activities include ringing the auspicious bell, ringing the big blessing drum, tying up the wish belt, prayer cards, security talismans, and turning on the New Year lights.
Traditional rituals and events to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Shanghai
Chinese New Year is celebrated for two weeks in Shanghai. Most of the traditional rituals and events take place at the Yu Garden (one of the oldest and most popular traditional places in the city, with shops and restaurants), the Bund, Nanjing Road (the busiest shopping area in the city) and of course , in the city’s many temples, such as Jing’an Temple.
Shanghai Yu Garden Lantern Festival
Yu Yuan is the place to be during the Lantern Festival. The city’s most famous lantern show is held here at 269 Fangbang Road (方浜路269号) for 31 days. No entry fee. (Pay attention to entry restrictions on peak days).
Yu Garden also hosts a temple fair where all kinds of local goods and snacks are on sale, as well as traditional performances.
Longhua Temple Annual Celebration
Longhua Temple, located at 853 Longhua Road (龙华路853), hosts one of the most elaborate and grandiose celebrations in the city. 108 Buddhist monks are invited to climb the pagoda of this temple and ring the bell at midnight to start the new year.
Longhua Temple holds this customary event every year, and is the only one to host it since it is the oldest temple in the city. The ringing of the bell symbolizes the beginning of the new year and is considered an act to drive away evil spirits. Also check out the Jade Buddha Temple at 170 An Yuan Road (170安远路).
Chinese New Year celebration at Shanghai Disney
At Shanghai Disney Resort, during the holiday season, you can enjoy the colorful and exciting New Year’s activities, hearty traditional New Year’s food.
Guyi Garden Spring Festival Fair
The annual Guyi Garden Temple Fair is a good option to witness traditional entertainment and the flowering of various plants everywhere. Dragon/lion dances and stilt parades are part of this festival. Dates have not yet been announced.
Shanghai Happy Valley New Year Lantern Festival
This multi-themed annual festival will introduce you to the artworks of 100 craftsmen, lanterns produced by 100 teams, a 65-hectare area for viewing fireworks and lanterns, and 10 million luminous and magical lanterns. An event not to be missed! This year, tickets cost RMB 80 (Monday to Thursday) and RMB 100 (Friday to Sunday).
Traditional Chinese New Year food in Shanghai
Food is the most important part of this party. The different dishes symbolize the different myths, legends and cultures of China.
In Shanghai, some of the most delicious dishes you must try are:
– Rice dumplings or tangyuan as they are called in Shanghai (yuanxiao is the other common name) are very popular in Shanghai.
– Takecai (Tacai in North China) is a very popular vegetable dish during CNY in Shanghai. It symbolizes the elimination of bitterness in the new year.
– Xunyu (/sshywnn yoo/) is Shanghai’s special fish dish, and fish is a staple dish of Chinese New Year.
– Shanghai New Year Cake or Nian Gao is a version of the traditional cake made with sticky rice and sugar, and there are glutinous and gluten-free versions of this cake.
– Babaofan is an immensely popular type of rice pudding.