Chinese New Year in Joburg

22 Feb 2019
created 08 Jan 2019
Chinese New Year celebrations in First Chinatown
Chinese New Year celebrations in First Chinatown
Photo by Mark Straw
Joburg has a very active Chinese community and local Chinese New Year celebrations are always an exuberant, noisy and colourful affair. Chinese New Year events are spread through the weekends after the official date of Chinese New Year (in 2019 Tuesday Feb 5) and take place in Joburg's historic First Chinatown in the City Centre and in the large New Chinatown in Cyrildene. In 2019 according to the Chinese zodiac we are entering the year of the Earth Pig.

Friday February 15
Chinese New Year Celebrations at Rivonia Oriental City

Taking over the Rivonia Oriental City shopping mall (cnr Rivonia Blv and 9th Ave, Rivonia) from 13:00, these New Year's celebrations include performances by the Fantastic Chinese dragon dancers, Zen writing demonstrations and workshops and Kung Fu displays as well as a festive market offering traditional Chinese delicacies. 

Saturday February 16
Chinese New Year in Cyrildene

On Saturday February 16 Cyrildene, Joburg's biggest Chinatown, hosts its annual Chinese New Year street party. The event is an exuberant, noisy and colourful affair, with the long main street, Derrick Avenue, filled with streetside food stalls and Cyrildene's dozens of restaurants all offer special festive menus (book well in advance for a table). In the early evening a parade begins to wind its way up the street, led by a colourful Chinese lion who is followed by dancers in traditional costume and a long, dancing Chinese dragon. Cymbals crash and firecrackers flare as the lion visits every business along the street. Chinese New Year in Cyrildene is a busy, noisy and exciting affair - watch out for the many wayward fireworks! - that makes for a most memorable cultural experience.

There are dozens of restaurants to choose from in Cyrildene and with New Year being by far the community's biggest event tables get booked up weeks in advance. Some recommended Cyrildene restaurants offering festive New Year dinner packages and streetside tables with good views of the parade include: Fisherman's Plate (+27 11 622 0480) and Fong Mei (+27 11 615 1384). The festival runs from approximately 16:30 until 23:00.

Saturday February 23
Chinese New Year in First Chinatown
Joburg's First Chinatown on Commissioner Street (between the corners of Miriam Makeba and Alexander Streets) in Ferreirasdorp celebrates Chinese New Year on Saturday February 23 with a massive fireworks display, tons of street food stalls and plenty of traditional entertainment. The arrival of the Year of the Pig will be welcomed with dancing Chinese dragons and lions, Chinese drumming and singing and Kung Fu and Tai Chi displays. A variety of Chinese food will be on sale throughout the day in the Chinatown area, including at Joburg's oldest Chinese restaurant Swallows Inn and from a variety of Chinese street food stalls. Events run throughout the evening from 17:00 culminating in a huge fireworks display at 21:00. 

There are only a handful of restaurants in First Chinatown and all of them can be expected to get very busy so it is worth booking ahead. To book call: Ming Woo Restaurant (+27 11 833 5924), Lucky Cafe (+27 11 836 9311) or Swallows Inn (+27 11 838 2946).


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