For many of us a trip to China is not in our budget, especially during the New Year when prices go up. Luckily, England has a large Chinese population and there are celebrations all over the country. It doesn’t matter if all you know about China is the menu of your local takeaway, this is your chance to learn about the culture because everyone is invited.
Every year of the Chinese calendar is represented by an animal that is believed to mark the spirit of the coming year. This time it’s the turn of the dog.
People who are born this year are thought to be loyal and honest, but also be stubborn. According to the Chinese zodiac they usually choose professions like politician, nurse, doctor, teacher, philosopher or follow religious vocations.
London’s Chinese New Year celebrations are the largest outside of Asia and they happen in and around Chinatown in the West End, with the main events taking place in Trafalgar Square.
All the celebrations will take place on Sunday 18th so people can attend.
The kick-off will be at 10 am with a parade that will go from Charing Cross Road to Shaftesbury Avenue. Later at 12 pm events will start at Trafalgar Square with a mix of traditional and contemporary shows on the stage until 5.30 pm when a light show will close the celebration.
All throughout the day activities will be taking place in Chinatown, with special menus in most restaurants. It does get busy so go with time and with an idea of what you want to do.
Guildford dedicates a whole day and most of the town centre to celebrating the Chinese New Year.
The celebration will be Saturday 24th and it will be on and around Commercial Road. Things start at 10 am and finish at 7 pm, with events happening the whole day.
There will be a combination of cultural events, stalls and performances. Most activities will be suitable for all, including young children and people with limited mobility. You can find more information here.
If you want to wish people a happy new year in Chinese you just have to say: 新年快樂 (xīnnián kuàilè), which sounds a bit like sheen-neean kwai-luh in English.