Chinese New Year is known as the ‘Lunar New Year’ or ‘Spring Festival’. The date changes every year depending on the lunar calendar but it always falls in January or February. It starts on the first day of the lunar calendar. Chinese New Year 2018 is Friday 16th February and the festival lasts for 2 weeks. Each day of the festival has specific activities and traditions. They finish on 2nd March with the lantern festival.
15th February is regarded as New Years Eve. Traditionally families will get together for the reunion dinner which is the most important meal of the year. Afterwards children are given red envelopes containing ‘lucky money’. The family stays up late to welcome in the New Year.
On 16th February the New Year is welcomed in with firecrackers. It is a day spent wishing neighbours and family and friends well. The following days are spent celebrating various family links and zodiac animals leading up to the finale on 2nd March with the lantern festival.
Each year is represented by a different zodiac animal from the lunar-solar Chinese calendar. The 12 zodiac animals are the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. 2018 is the year of the Dog. Did you know that each zodiac animal has its own meaning and characteristics which are said to be carried by those born in that year? I was born in 1988 which was the year of the Earth Dragon. This is what my zodiac says about me: ‘they are positive and cheerful. They do not fear enemies and do not bully the weak. They surround themselves with supportive people and create loving families.’ I’d say this is pretty accurate! You can find out all about your zodiac here: https://chinesenewyear2018.com/zodiac/
So whats happening in the South if you want to celebrate Chinese New Year? Check out these events:
10th February – Interactive storytelling, dragon dancing, animal trail and more at The Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock 2-4pm. FREE EVENT
14th + 15th February – Chinese New Year party with stories and activities at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 1-4pm. FREE drop in event. Donations welcome.
15th February – Make a Chinese dragon fire-clock at the Museum Of The History Of Science in Oxford. Drop in event 12-4pm. £3 donation for materials.
16th February – Enjoy interactive storytelling, dragon dancing, learning mandarin, making lanterns and more at The Story Museum in Oxford. 1-5pm FREE EVENT
17th February – Blenheim Palace Chinese New Year Celebration. Enjoy a traditional Chinese lion dance with a drummer and sample some Chinese street food. More details here:Blenheim Palace Chinese New Year Celebration
17th + 18th February – Enjoy interactive storytelling, dragon dancing, learning mandarin, making lanterns and more at The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. 9-5pm FREE EVENT
18th February – London Chinese New Year parade through West End towards Chinatown. There will be family friendly activities and entertainment in Leicester Square plus Chinese street food and a festival in Trafalgar Square