Chinese New Year is a huge festival among Chinese communities in London and across the world.
Based on the lunar and solar calendars, the actual date of Chinese New Year varies, but always falls between late January and mid-February.
Each year in the Chinese calendar is represented by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac.
London’s Chinese New Year celebrations are the largest outside Asia. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people descend on the West End to wish each other “Xin Nian Kuai Le” (Happy New Year in Mandarin) or “San Nin Faai Lok” (in Cantonese).
Chinese New Year 2015 falls on February 19 but London celebrates the Year of the Sheep on February 22.
Sunday, 22 February 2015 – 10:00am to 6:00pm
Come and welcome the Chinese ‘Year of the Sheep’ on Sunday 22 February.
Events begin at 10am, with a colourful New Year’s Parade that passes along Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue before reaching Chinatown. An official opening ceremony (expected to take place at midday) in Trafalgar Square will then be followed by various performances. There’ll be floats, Chinese lion and dragon teams and more.
Photo by Grant Pritchard
There will also be free performances from noon with music, dance, acrobatics and martial arts. Trafalgar Square’s programme will kick off with the Chen Brothers Flying Lion Dance, plus a host of visiting artists from China.
Beyond the main stages there will be plenty to see and do throughout Chinatown, with craft stalls and food stands in operation during the day and the area’s numerous restaurants set to be especially lively. All activities forming part of the official celebrations are free to attend and, although the programme concludes at 6pm, there should events taking place in Chinatown until later that evening.
Londoners can mark the arrival of the Year of the Sheep at various locations throughout the city.
On Saturday, February 21, the National Gallery will host a full day of Chinese New Year-related family-friendly activities. They will include interactive demonstrations of Chinese instruments and Chinese storytelling sessions, alongside puppet-making classes and play sessions for toddlers. Admission is free but advance booking is recommended. On the same day, the National Maritime Museum will celebrate the occasion with a day of free workshops, performances and a traditional lion dance at its Greenwich site. In Knightsbridge, Mr Chow will celebrate Chinese New Year by serving its signature noodles, hand-pulled by the chef in front of diners, and dumplings, which symbolise wealth in Chinese culture, alongside lamb dishes. Within Kensington’s Royal Garden Hotel, Min Jiang restaurant will serve a nine-course menu of Chinese favourites on February 18 and 19. Costing £98 per person, it will include dishes such as crispy lamb brisket with Chinese buns and steamed king prawns with fermented chilli sauce.
Chinese New Year in London is organised by London Chinatown Chinese Association and supported by the Mayor of London and Westminster City Council.
Were you born in the year of the sheep?
The sheep (goat, or ram) is among the animals that people like most. It is gentle and calm. Since ancient times, people have learned to use its fleece to make writing brushes and skin to keep warm. As it is white, people describe delicate and precious white jade to be ‘suet jade’. Thus it is close to the meaning of good things.
Charateristics of people born in the year of Sheep are tender, polite, filial, clever, and kind-hearted. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty, faith in a certain religion and a special fondness for quiet living. They are wise, gentle and compassionate and can cope with business cautiously and circumspectly. In their daily life, they try to be economical. Women born in this year are willing to take good care of others, but they should avoid pessimism and hesitation. They are kind in heart and commonly have symmetrical figures and features.
Sheep year people are often worriers who are shy, pessimistic, moody, indecisive, over-sensitive, weak-willed and puzzled about life. They are easily inclined to be deeply religious. They are timid in nature and like to be looked after by others. They like flattery, compliment and suggestions from friends. They do not dare to express their love openly and usually have interests in strange theories.
Posted within: Blog