Happy Chinese New Year!
This year, the Chinese New Year (otherwise known as Spring Festival) falls on February 3rd. Each year, the date varies, because it doesn’t follow the same patterns as Western calendars. It falls on the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice, which is always in January or February. The celebration lasts for 15 days, and is the most important Chinese holiday.
Before the new year begins, it is traditional to properly clean out the house; this is to sweep away any ill fortune and allow space for good luck to come in. On the eve of the new year, families will gather together for a feast. Much like other celebrations across the world, plenty of money is spent on decorations and gifts for loved ones, as well as food and clothing. The Chinese new year is a time for wishing happiness, wealth, longevity and prosperity to each other. Streets and houses are decorated with bright red. On the 15th day, to round off the festivities, the Chinese have a lantern festival, celebrating love and affection (similar to our Valentine’s Day).
Although we’re on the other side of the world, you can still get involved with some traditional Chinese celebrations next week. All you need to do is head down to Chinatown in Soho to welcome in the year of the rabbit! There will be an opening ceremony on Sunday 6th February at noon, which will be followed by some lively and colourful performances from acrobats and dancers, Chinese dragons and lions, as well as firecrackers. The celebrations will continue down Shaftesbury Avenue and into Chinatown, where you can sample some delicious traditional Chinese food.
Take a London city taxi there to get into the Eastern spirit and enjoy the festivities; there will be plenty to do, even if you had no prior knowledge of Chinese culture. We’re sure that city cabs will be kept pretty busy during this time!