In Shengxiao, the Chinese Zodiac, each year is marked by an animal which personifies different elements of life; this cycle, that has lasted for centuries, rotates every 12 years. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit: an animal which traditionally represents prosperity and peace; thus, this Lunar New Year is believed to be one of personal success and accomplishment. To celebrate, we will explore the exciting array of activities taking place within the cities of English Path’s UK schools!
Kicking off our list is the capital of the UK, where the most famous of the country’s Chinatowns resides! Become lost along Wardour Street, where you will surely find Cantonese Ducks and Char Sui pork hanging at the front windows. Be prepared to queue, however, as many will flock during these next few days to enjoy the irresistible barbequed meats!
If you’re seeking Chinese music, visit the National Maritime Museum, where Guifei Zuijiu, a captivating and well-known Chinese opera, will be performed live. The Museum will host a spectacular roster of additional musical performances, including Joyous Serenity- a beautiful show showcasing the Pipa and the Guzheng (two traditional Chinese musical instruments).
Ribbon dance and storytelling workshops are also available for those with a knack for the arts, simply visit the Museum of London Docklands to take part in one of the free activities.
After a three-year hiatus, the city-wide Lunar New Year celebrations return to Birmingham! Highlights of the weekend's itinerary include Wan Sheng traditional dance, a 3 o’clock Kung Fu show, and the roaring Chinese Lion display! If you are looking to partake in a more crafty activity, take a trip to the Hippodrome theatre: work alongside local artists in carefully crafting Chinese calligraphy, or let your creative-juices flowing through lantern-making.
A pivotal element of Lunar New Year is food, and Birmingham has plenty of it to offer! The city is a fantastic destination for this special occasion, as it is home to the UK’s best Dim Sum! Located in the Chinese quarter, Chung Ying Cantonese restaurant achieved the Golden Chopsticks Award (an accredited industry award body) in 2022. So be sure to grab a table, and fill yourself with a variety of crispy and steamed Dim Sum!
Venturing further north, Leeds too has a great range of Chinese restaurants dotted around the buzzing city. With restaurants serving foods from various regions of China, you will certainly be spoilt for choice.
But perhaps one of the more unique yet enriching experiences you can find yourself visiting is the Chinese and British Exhibition at the Halton Library. Partnering with the British Library, this educational addition to our list aims to celebrates the integration of Chinese people, art, food, and culture into modern Britain. Throughout the mid-twentieth century, Britain saw a rising number of Chinese immigrants arriving, bringing vibrant culture with them, that have shaped our multicultural identity. Organized by the library, this sentimental collection includes photographs and interviews of real stories that have impacted the Chinese-British population of the North and the greater United Kingdom. The exhibit is free, and positively recognizes the journey of early Chinese-British immigrants.
Concluding our list is Manchester: If you’re lucky enough to be here during this time, be sure to venture into Chinatown to fully immerse yourself in the Lunar New Year celebrations! Met with by grand Chinatown Archway, you will find a selection of nifty craft workshops, face-painters, tasty Chinese street-food, in addition to a great variety of restaurants.
Mark your calendars for Sunday the 22nd to catch a glimpse of the famous Red Dragon: the 175-metre-long, scaly monster which will soar across the streets from Manchester Central to Chinatown. Accompanied by traditional, costumed dancers, this exciting display is a must-see! After the thrills of the parade, delicious food, and a musical show or two, end the day with the illuminated dragon performances, at 5pm and 6pm!
Planning on joining the Lunar New Year festivities in one of these cities? Be sure to post your pictures and videos on Instagram and tag us at @englishpathschools. Happy Lunar New Year!