Kung hei fat choi!
That’s happy new year to you and me, yes – we’ve made it through to another Chinese New Year. One of my favourite times of year, there are plenty of ways to get involved and see what makes it so special.
Thursday, Feb 3 and Friday, Feb 4
Chinese New Year Cabaret
For an alternative way to see in the new year, head on down to Volupte to see Marianne Cheesecake host Suri Sumatra and Rachel Ong as they bellydance and burlesque their way through the evening.
There are two shows starting at 6:30pm and 9:30pm at Volupte, 9 Norwich Street. It’s £15 entry.
Nearest Tube: Chancery Lane
Saturday, Feb 5
The National Portrait Gallery is holding its annual Chinese New Year drop-in day. I went to this last year and it was great fun…it’s aimed at kids really, with lots of story telling, but the performances can be enjoyed by all ages. You can see traditional dancing and acrobatics, and learn about the Chinese calendar.
It’s free entry and on 1pm-4pm.
Nearest Tube: Charing Cross/Leicester Square
Chinese Lanterns in NYC's Chinatown
Get the kids involved and get over to the Geffrye Museum this Saturday. Here you’ll be able to make Chinese lanterns using paper from the museum’s collection.
Activities are for those aged 11-16 and are free.
The Geffrye Museum is on Kingsland Road, and the event runs 10:30am-12:30pm and 2pm-4pm.
Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street/Old Street, then 149, 242 or 243 bus
Saturday, Feb 5 and Sunday, Feb 6
Another one for the kids, this time you can learn to write in the Chinese art of calligraphy.
For children aged 6+.
It’s taking place at the Museum of London Docklands from 12pm-3pm
Nearest Tube: West India Quay (DLR)
The original Chinatown in London was in Limehouse – now’s your chance to have a tour around the area and find out what things were like in those days on this walking tour.
Tours are on Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 2pm each day, and tickets can be booked here (scroll to the bottom of the page). Tickets cost £6, £5 concession.
The tours leave from the Museum of London Docklands (see above for details)
Lion dancing through the streets
Sunday, Feb 6
Paint Your Own Rabbit
Another activity at the Museum of London Docklands, this time you can paint your own ceramic bunny to take home. Suitable for ages 3+.
It’s free and painting takes place at 12:30pm-1:30pm and 2:30pm-3:30pm.
The Main Event
This is it! The big celebration in Chinatown. Loads of stuff is happening around Trafalgar Square and Shaftesbury Avenue on Sunday.
The opening ceremony kicks off at 12pm in Trafalgar Square, followed by dragon and lion dances, acrobatics, music and dance.
Chinatown will be awash with food and trinket stalls – but the traditional fireworks display that normally goes on in Leicester Square are cancelled this week, due to the work that’s going on there.
Celebrations will be on 12pm-6pm.
Nearest Tubes: Charing Cross or Leicester Square