CHINESE NEW YEAR 2018: where to join the celebrations

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Chinese New Year is almost here as we bid farewell to the Rooster and welcome in The Year of the Dog. With lion dances, lanterns, fireworks and dragons, there are scores of celebrations and events taking place across the UK.


When: Sunday 18th February from 10am until 6pm

Where: Join London’s Chinese New Year celebrations when once again the West End will be filled with music, activities, acrobatics and pyrotechnics. As usual, London’s celebrations are set to be the largest outside of Asia, with hundreds of thousands of people descend on Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and to wish each other “Xin Nian Kuai Le” (Happy New Year in Mandarin) or “San Nin Faai Lok” (in Cantonese).

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Watch colourful floats and more than 30 teams take part in the vibrant Chinese New Year parade, which kicks off at 10am with a dragon and lion dance in Charing Cross Road, before snaking its way through Chinatown.

Walk down to Trafalgar Square from 12pm for the main stage performances, featuring traditional Chinese dance and music shows, contemporary hip-hop acts and an exciting line-up of artists from China.

Get a taste of the Far East at one of the two food zones: tuck into street food in Trafalgar Square, or sit down for a traditional Chinese New Year menu and special festive treats in a Chinatown restaurant.

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Take the kids to the Leicester Square family zone for cultural activities and family-friendly performances, including calligraphy, Chinese music, dressing up in traditional outfits and more.

See thrilling martial art performances, including tai chi chuan and traditional flag display, in the Shaftesbury Avenue martial arts and culture zone.

Spot up-and-coming British-Chinese artists on the New Talent stage, hosted by Spectrum Chinese radio, in the Charing Cross Road community zone.

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Enjoy more cultural activities with lion dances and craft stalls in Chinatown and don’t miss the pyrotechnic display which lights up Trafalgar Square to mark the end of the festivities!


When: Saturday 17th – Sunday 18th February

Where: Manchester city centre will be celebrating the very best of traditional and contemporary Chinese culture, with a Chinese New Year weekend packed full of food, fortune and fun to welcome in the Year of the Dog. Thousands of traditional red lanterns will adorn the city’s streets alongside stunning light shows, firework displays, Chinese and Asian food villages, live music, traditional performances and a host of city wide family events; and of course the legendary Dragon Parade.


Head to Albert Square at midday on 18th February to see the spectacular 175-foot Dragon, then follow The Dragon Parade at 1pm from Albert Square to Chinatown, and leave plenty of time to enjoy the classical Chinese lion dances, music, acrobatics, dancing and a funfair until the skies above Chinatown will be lit up with the fantastic firework finale.

To catch the parade:

Martial arts, dance displays and The Dragon appears outside the Town Hall on Albert Square.

The Dragon Parade from the Town Hall to Chinatown.

The Dragon arrives in Chinatown to firecrackers and New Year addresses from Chinese community leaders.

The Lion and Unicorn visit and bless Chinatown’s businesses and revellers enjoy the funfair and spectacular Chinese acrobatics, dancing and music alongside 60 food, arts and crafts stalls.

Fireworks finale in Chinatown.

Elsewhere you can sample authentic Chinese fayre from the street food markets in St Ann’s Square which will host some of the city’s best purveyors of Asian food and drink over the Chinese New Year weekend, including delicious treats from Manchester’s famous Yang Sing restaurant.  You can enjoy a selection of  traditional festive dumplings, steamed buns and dim sum favourites from the colourful array of stalls.

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You can also catch a glimpse of the giant, glittering Golden Dragon that has taken up residence in St Anne’s square, and the Lion Dancing display on Market Street at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm.

Once again, Manchester Arndale Centre will be transformed into a hive of creative workshops for families. Teachers from China will spend the day introducing children and their parents to Chinese cultural activities, like Chinese knot making and Calligraphy. Come and explore these traditional arts and use the newly learnt skills to make your own bracelet or badges.

Children will be able to choose a specific Chinese character and the teacher will demonstrate how one draws the character on the special paper using a brush and ink. They can then turn that piece of personalised art into a pin badge. Alternatively, children can try their hand on traditional knot making and create their own knotted bracelet decorated with an animal charm to welcome the Year of the Dog.


When: Friday 16th – Sunday 18th February

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Where: The city of Liverpool will celebrate the Year of the Dog with a kaleidoscope of culture, art, sights and sounds, and thousands of lanterns illuminating Bold Street and Chinatown

Commencing on Friday 16th, projections will illuminate the Chinese Arch (gifted to the city in 2010 by twin city Shanghai, it is the largest outside of China), the Black-E and The Arch. Continuing from 2017’s story of the mythical Jingwei bird, the projections will tell the story of the vibrant Chinese community in the City. The 12 minute show will run on a loop from 7.30pm – 8.30pm on Friday and Saturday and 6.30p, – 7.30pm on Sunday.

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On the Friday and Saturday, entertainment will start from 7pm as Hung Gar Kung Fu wow crowds with an illuminated dragon and Lion dance.

On Sunday, the traditional celebrations will take place in Great George Square with a series of street performances, family workshops, art installations, parades and the popular Chinese market on George Street selling gifts, souvenirs and mouth watering food.

Chinese New Year will be part of the ‘China Dream’ season, that sees Liverpool embrace contemporary Chinese arts and culture from February 2018 to October 2018. China Dream will be inspire visitors with a programme including the wonder of the Terracotta Army at the World Museum, the Moon Festival and Shanghai Film Festival.

There will also be the following performances on Sunday at the Great George Square stage:

11:30am – 12:15pm Kwong Tam School of Tai Chi (in association with See Yep Association)

12:20 – 1pm Flower Drums, Fan Tai Chi, Dance and Happy Dance! (Pagoda Arts)

1:05 – 1:45pm Firecracker Display – Lucky Man, Dragon and Unicorn Parades

1:45 – 2pm Martial Arts Demonstration (Liverpool Hung Gar Kung Fu Friendship Association)

2:05 – 2:25pm Traditional Chinese Fan Dance & Cheongsam Costume Show (Wah Sing Community Centre Dancers)

2:35 – 2:45pm Chinese Red Lantern Dance (Friendship Dancers)

2:50 – 3:20pm 24 Festival Drums (Liverpool Guild of Students)

3:30 – 4pm Chinese Fusion Dance Workshop – have a go! (Movema Dance)

16:00 – 5pm A showcase of traditional and contemporary music, dance and song by Chinese students (Everyman and Playhouse and Liverpool Confucius Institute)

5 – 5:30pm Terracotta Warriors Love – A performance inspired by the fusion of Chinese Opera, Martial arts and contemporary dance. (Pagoda Arts, Everyman and Playhouse and Liverpool Confucius Institute).

5:30 – 6pm Chinese Fusion Dance (Movema Dance & 24 Festival Drums, Liverpool Guild of Students)


When: Sunday 18th February, from 11.30am until 4.30pm.

Where: Birmingham’s annual Chinese New Year celebration is back and is bigger than ever. Expect lion dances, funfair rides, acrobatic performances and Kung Fu demonstrations, market stalls and food amongst the traditional entertainment taking over Birmingham’s Chinatown on Sunday 18th February.

As part of the day’s festivities in Chinatown, you will also be treated to performances from Rosie Kay Dance Company, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s Chinese Folk Music Quartet, Chinese acrobats and circus performers, and much more in both Southside Square and the Patrick Studio.

In addition, there are set to be Chinese New Year celebrations on Colmore Row, St Phillips Cathedral, and the Arcadian Centre. There are also plans for Chinese New Year celebrations at Birmingham City Football Club, on Saturday, February 17th.

The celebration of the Chinese New Year is one of the biggest events in Birmingham and building on the success of previous years, plans will see the capacity double in size for this year’s event.

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Birmingham Hippodrome is co-producing Chinese New Year 2018 with the Chinese Festival Committee and there will be free craft workshops where you can make your own drum, Chinese lantern, spiral dragon or mask, or add your name to the wall in the graffiti and calligraphy workshops in their theatre foyers.


When:  Sunday 18 February from 11:30am – 3:30pm

Where: Leeds is getting into the spirit of the Chinese New Year with a host of activities and festivities taking place across the city. This year’s event takes place at Leeds Town Hall and promises to deliver a wide variety of Chinese experiences including Dancing, Music, Diabolo, Calligraphy, Martial Arts and Taekwondo; there will also be trade stands offering a variety of Chinese Food, Crafts, Beauty and Face Painting. Tickets are priced at £5 and are on sale from 11:00am and the workshops begin at 11:30am

Leeds Chinese Community School will also host a unique event to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Showcasing music performed by the Chinese Traditional Music Orchestra consisting of 60 talented young people originating from Guang Zhou, China. Local artists along with youth music groups will also be performing to celebrate this remarkable occasion.

Leeds City Museum has also put together a programme for the Chinese New Year. Over four days from 13th to 18th February you can drop in to take part in a series of events inspired by the Chinese Zodiac. They’ve got traditional lion and dog dancing, a Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt, banana carving, face-painting amongst other crafty activities to try.


When: Sunday 18th February. 11am – 4pm

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Where: This year the Chinese New Year festivities in Newcastle are set to be bigger and better than ever thanks to a successful crowd funding campaign, with thousands of people expected to pour in and around Chinatown for the festivities.

The ‘showpiece’ vibrant parade will start in the very heart of the city centre and features dragon, lion and unicorn dances alongside themed floats, music, Chinese folk dances and colourful flags, lanterns and banners. The route is from The Monument/Old Eldon Square and will finish in Chinatown (Stowell Street)

At the Chinese Centre on Westgate Road, happenings include a Chinese market and fairground, calligraphy, Chinese zodiac readings, calendar making and fortune telling. Moreover, a special children’s marquee at Thornton Square offers traditional Chinese arts and crafts, including the chance to learn how to write your name in Chinese.

Wherever you decide to join in this year’s festivities, enjoy and don’t forget to wear red for good fortune and to ward off evil spirits. One of the main messages of Chinese New Year is for families and friends to come together and wish each other peace and prosperity for the year ahead. So, from all of us at Legacy of Taste, Kung Hei Fat Choi!