Happy Chinese New Year!
Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, marks the beginning of a new Lunar New Year and the end of the coldest season in China. This year, the Spring Festival starts on 25 January (New Year’s Eve) and ends on the 11 February 2021.
This year symbolises the year of the Rat, the first of the 12 zodiac animals. According to the Chinese calendar, all zodiac animals have their own representations and personality. The Rat is known to generate surplus and wealth, and people born in the year of the Rat are considered to be optimistic, energetic and often liked by all. Were you born in the year of the rat? Recent years of the rat are: 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020.
The history of Chinese New Year dates back 3,500 years, originating in the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC), when people held sacrificial ceremonies in honour of gods and ancestors at the beginning or the end of each year. Today, many traditional activities have disappeared and new ways to celebrate the new year have emerged.
To commemorate the Chinese New Year, we have noted some ideas to help you celebrate the day with your family and friends.
- Like Christmas, the heart of Chinese New Year involves family time, festive food and loved ones returning home for the Spring Festival. Why not cook some heart-warming Chinese cuisine, and celebrate the new year with a taste of China!
- Get creative and create Chinese New Year decorations with your family. Red is the main colour of the festival and it is considered auspicious – typically in China, every street, building and house is decorated with the colour red! Click here to read some top tips on creating your own Chinese New Year decorations.
- Transfer some fortune to your children - in China, children receive ‘lucky money’ in small red envelopes that are considered to transfer fortune from grandparents and parents as good luck. Why not reward your child with a small surprise for any recent achievement they have made whether that be in in school, or in their Kumon studies?
Visit some great celebratory events across the UK. Here’s some events that are taking place:
- Manchester and Liverpool are hosting their yearly Chinese New Year celebrations from 24 - 26 January, as well as their Dragon and Lion parade, traditional arts and crafts workshops, and live shows.
- London and Birmingham are hosting their yearly New Year parade on the 26 January. In London, you can expect great entertainment with stage performances. In addition, Leicester Square have created a family zone that is expected to consist of traditional Chinese activities and entertainment. In Birmingham, the year of the Rat is scheduled to be the largest Chinese New Year celebration to date, with more than 30,000 people expected to attend.