The Chinese New Year falls on a different day each year, representing one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese New Year 2019 animal is the Pig and the Chinese New Year 2020 will be the Year of the Rat. This year, it starts on Tuesday, February the 5th and ends on February the 19th. It is set according to the Lunar calendar, marking the Lunar New Year, a day of the second new moon before the spring equinox moon phase.
It is also known as the Spring Festival, as it marks the end of the wintry days and welcomes spring with its planting, harvests, and new beginnings. It lasts for the first 11 days then the Lantern Festival is celebrated on the last 4 days. Since red is the main colour of the festival, Red Chinese lanterns hang in the streets and official buildings are decorated with red New Year pictures.
Some of the Chinese New Year traditions are pretty predictable, like cleaning the whole house before the season starts, putting up decorations and family gatherings for dinner. Some of the unique Chinese New Year foods are spring rolls, dumplings, steamed fish or chicken, Nian Gao (rice cake), and noodles with a variety of sides, like eggs, representing a big, healthy family; lobsters, for endless money; shrimps, for fortune and wealth; duck, for loyalty; tofu, for happiness and roasted pig, which represents peace. Since it is the Year of the Pig, it is a strongly recommended dish this year.
Chinese new year activities are not limited to China. London, England; San Francisco, USA; Sydney, Australia have the biggest Spring Festival celebrations signalling the Chinese New Year outside of Asia. To have a feel of what celebrations are like, look up the nearest Chinatown events and firecrackers.
Where to celebrate Chinese New Year in the UK?
Chinatown London’s Chinese New Year 2019 celebrations begin at 10 am on Sunday, 10th of February. Enjoy the parades, lion & dragon dances, lantern statues, fireworks and amazing food! This two-week festival will take place across the West End, starting at Charing Cross Road to Shaftesbury Avenue, reaching Trafalgar Square.
Where to celebrate Chinese New Year in Australia?
One of the main Chinese New Year events 2019 is Sydney Chinese New Year Festival. From the 1st of February till the 10th, more than 80 festivities are held across Sydney, from Chinatown and Darling Harbour in the centre to the northern suburb of Chatswood, and Cabramatta in Sydney’s south-west. Enjoy Spectacular lion and dragon dances, dragon boat races, colourful markets and fabulous food.
Melbourne too has things to do in Chinese New Year. Traditional and contemporary Chinese cultural activities, festivities, dances, Chinese opera and singing, culinary delights, arts and crafts, lion dances, dragon parades, calligraphy and children's events are all there. Firecrackers and fireworks too, along with drums and dragons with lion and dragon dancers will sweep the streets for 10 days.
Do you have a Chinese friend that told you things that we missed? Share with us your experience.