Last year, eSense Translations explored the meaning behind some of the traditions of Chinese New Year. This year we turn our focus to the U.K. and share what celebrations are taking place here during this time.
2018 is the Chinese ‘Year of the Dog’. The Chinese Zodiac has 12 animals, with each year being represented by one of the animals, in a repeating cycle. The year in which you are born and the animal that this corresponds to is said to influence your personality and characteristics. Furthermore, it is believed that it can also affect who you are best paired with and what occupation is most suitable for you. In the Year of the Dog, one of the most significant characteristics is loyalty.
In the U.K. this year the celebrations for Chinese New Year have got bigger and more spectacular than ever.
British Chinese people make up the third largest overseas Chinese community in Europe with the largest numbers in London (over 107,000), Manchester (over 10,800), Birmingham (over 10,700) and Liverpool (over 6,800), however compared to other ethnic minorities in the U.K., the Chinese are more widespread and decentralised.
Having these large Chinese communities in the U.K. means that we are lucky enough to be able to experience and share in the magnificent celebrations of Chinese New Year that take place in many of the major cities.
eSense Translations shares below some of the events that are taking place over this period.
Starting with our home city in Birmingham; celebrations are getting bigger each year. Last year in 2017, the area where the celebrations were held was expanded to cater for over 30,000 visitors. This year, with Chinese New Year falling on Friday 16th February, the main attractions will take place on the following Sunday.
The free events will include music and dance from talented artists, who will be showcasing their skills on multiple stages across the Chinese Quarter. Audiences will also be treated to the famous lion dancing, which will meander its way through this area of the city, in and around the extravagant festive decorations. Alongside these attractions, visitors can be tempted by authentic Chinese food from the multiple street food stalls. There will also be a variety of workshops for people to participate in and children’s face painting.
In London, the events for Chinese New Year are even more impressive, claiming to be the biggest celebrations outside of Asia.
The theme of the festivities this year is “celebrating the Golden Era for UK-China relations”, honouring the friendship between the two countries, and have been organised by the London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA).
The scheduled events, also free of charge, mainly take place on Sunday 18th February in the West End of London around Trafalgar Square, Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road.
Admire the parade with colourful floats, dancing dragons and lions, as it winds its way down Charring Cross Road towards Chinatown. In Trafalgar Square, a thanksgiving ceremony will be followed by firecrackers, more dancing dragons, flying lions (!) as well as many other colourful performers and artists. Further special performances are scheduled on the West End stages by popular Chinese performers. London is also offering plenty for the kids with creative workshops to participate in throughout the area. And to keep up the energy levels to fully enjoy the celebrations, sample traditional Chinese cuisine with the wide variety of street food on offer.
Manchester and Liverpool also have similar lively, colourful events taking place over the weekend to celebrate Chinese New Year. Like London and Birmingham, these celebrations will also be held in their Chinese Quarter of the city, all for visitors and residents alike to enjoy.
Although these celebrations are based on the traditions of the Chinese New Year, spectators of all cultural backgrounds are welcomed to enjoy them. In Birmingham, the majority of the visitors are often students and families, with around 50% typically being Chinese speakers.
Will you be participating in or visiting any Chinese New Year celebrations this year? eSense Translations would love to hear your news. Just comment below or tweet us @eSenseTrans
By Lorna Paice