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New-year festivities all set to start in Yokohama

by Yasmine La Salle

Staff Writer

New-year celebrations are finished in some parts of the world, but in others they’ve just begun. From the end of next week, one of these latter places is Yokohama, where the city’s Chinatown, located near the bay, is about to begin its spring festival to ring in the Year of the Horse. Celebrations will last from Jan. 31 to Feb. 14.

First up on Jan. 31 is a lion dance, which is thought to ward off ghosts and evil spirits, as well as bring about prosperity. This takes place throughout Chinatown starting at 3:30 p.m. and going on well into the night. This year, the Chinese New Year, which is based on the lunar calendar, falls on Jan. 31, so a number of activities will be held on that day. But don’t worry if you can’t make it to Yokohama on the Friday, because the party continues into February, with festivities concluding with a Lantern Festival on Feb. 14.

On this 15th day of the first lunar-calendar month, lanterns are displayed at Yokohama Ma Zhu Miao temple, and from 5:30 p.m., visitors can light candles and leave prayer notes expressing their wishes and dreams.

The Chinese spring festival takes place in Yokohama from Jan. 31 to Feb. 14. Times vary depending on the event. Entrance and the activities are free of charge. For more information visit www.welcome.city.yokohama.jp.