If you’re looking to celebrate Chinese New Year in the UK, this is everything you need to know about ushering in the Year of the Rat with details of Chinese New Year events taking place throughout the UK.
This year’s celebrations in London take place on the day after Chinese New Year itself - Sunday 26 January.
The Chinese New Year parade allows you to watch amazing hand crafted floats take part in the parade, which also features the largest gathering of Chinese lions and dragons in Europe. The parade kicks off at 10am on Charing Cross Road before making its way through Shaftesbury Avenue in Chinatown.
In Trafalgar Square, the festivities start at 11am, with screen shows and a thanksgiving ceremony which is followed by firecrackers, speeches and the Lions’ Eye-Dotting Ceremony.
You can experience traditional flying dragon and lion dances at 12:50pm, with stage performances throughout the day from 1:15pm.
Special performances and workshops will also be taking place in London’s West End from 12pm to 5pm.
Alternatively, you can head over to Chinatown, where you can see lion dances and the lucky Money God.
The biggest event in Edinburgh for Chinese New Year is the Official Chinese New Year Concert, which is hosted by the Asian Association of Commerce, Culture and Education in Europe.
It features music from the Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra, Edinburgh singers and Chinese folk pieces performed by Chinese artists.
Unfortunately this event is sold out, but Edinburgh has plenty of other events on offer for those looking to celebrate Chinese New Year in the capital of Scotland.
2020 events include:
- Chinese New Year at the Scotch Whiskey Experience. Silver and gold whisky tours will be available in Mandarin and Cantonese, Scottish tapas with a Chinese twist will be on offer and a whisky cocktail celebrating both Chinese New Year and Burns night will be served. Takes place on Saturday 25 January. Read more on the Scotch Whisky Experience website here
- Chinese New Year at Holyrood Distillery. To celebrate Chinese New Year, tours of the distillery will be available daily between 21 - 28 January in Mandarin. You’ll get to learn about malt whisky and gin production and enjoy spirit samples along the way. Each day traditional red envelopes will be handed out with special prizes inside. Find out more on the Holyrood Distillery website here
- Chinese New Year Lanterns at St Giles’ Cathedral. Experience the incredible transformation of Edinburgh’s famous St Giles’ Cathedral with a stunning Chinese lantern installation with over 400 lanterns, set to an amazing soundtrack. Runs from Wednesday 22 January to Saturday 1 February from 5:30 to 8pm. Tickets cost £5. Read more on the events page of St Giles’ Cathedral website.
Usher in the Year of the Rat in Manchester and enjoy the famous red lanterns, live performances and the iconic Dragon Parade.
The Dragon Parade will begin at 12:30pm in St Peter’s Square before heading to Chinatown. Chinatown will have a host of activities to visit, with live performances, workshops, food, stalls and a funfair.
New for 2020, an amazing illuminated dragon will light up Chinatown each evening with performances at 5:30pm.
Alternatively, head to St Ann’s Square to catch sight of the giant 50ft glittering Golden Dragon that has taken up residence there for the weekend.
On 26 January, witness the Chinatown fireworks finale which kicks off at 6pm.
On Saturday 25 January, Birmingham will be home to a variety of Chinese New Year celebrations.
At Bullring & Grand Central from 11:30am to 4pm, there will be lion and dragon dances, classical fan and umbrella dances, face changing performances, Shaolin Warriors, light up stilt walkers and a wish tree.
From 5pm to 7pm, Chinese New Year will be held at The Arcadian, with face changing performances, lion and dragon dances, classical fan and umbrella dances and firecrackers.
In Liverpool, Chinese New Year will be celebrated on Sunday 26 January. Festivities will include seeing traditional Chinese culture that’s blended with modern performances. Must see street acts, stage and music entertainment, aerial demonstrations, family workshops and more.
The timetable of activities and performances in Great George Square in Chinatown for the day includes:
- Firecracker display from 1:05pm to 1:45pm
- 24 Festival Drums from the Liverpool Guild of Students from 2:35pm to 2:55pm
- Chinese fan dance from 3:10pm to 3:15pm
- Everyman Playhouse and Liverpool Confucius Institute showcase (featuring traditional and contemporary music, dance and song by Chinese students) from 3:40pm to 4:30pm
You can see the full timetable on the Guide Liverpool website here.
Chinese New Year festivities in Newcastle will take place around the city’s Chinatown, along St Andrew’s Street on 26 January.
Events to look out for include:
- The Chinese New Year Parade which will be performed at The Green, Old Eldon Square in the centre of Newcastle at 11:30am before heading off to the Chinese arch in Chinatown
- Traditional dragon and lion dances will take place around the ceremonial Chinese arch on Stowell Street at 12:30pm
- Exhibition arts, crafts and foot at the North East Chinese Association on Stowell Street between 12pm and 4pm
Chinese Market and Fairground at Bath Lane featuring a funfair, stalls and Chinese food between 11am and 4pm