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Britain celebrating the Spring Festival in style

DATE:2020-1-17 author: admin

With dragon and lion dances, stage performances, spectacular parades, and traditional Chinese food, Chinese New Year celebrations have become an integral part of the United Kingdom's cultural calendar. This year, more than 20 events are expected to take place across the country.

Determined by the lunar calendar, Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, usually falls between late January and February. Each year is represented by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, on a repeating cycle. This year is the Year of Rat, with Lunar New Year falling on Jan 25.

Once again, London will host the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to participate. Central London festivities on Jan 26 take place across the West End, from Shaftesbury Avenue in the north down to Trafalgar Square.

There are lively activities and foodie treats in Chinatown; Leicester Square offers family-friendly entertainment; and while Trafalgar Square hosts the main stage performances, more stages can be found on Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road.

Museums in London will offer a range of cultural events aimed at bringing families the joy and fun of the festival season.

On Jan 25, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich will stage a performance from Step Out Arts and the Guizhou Song and Dance Ensemble. Visitors can also play and learn about mahjong, a tile-based game developed in China. Parents and children can also celebrate the long history of paper-making and create their own origami rat.

On Feb 8-9, various performances, martial arts demonstrations and creative workshops will be put on at the Museum of London Docklands, an ideal way to introduce youngsters to the traditions of the New Year and Chinese culture.

As part of the third China-UK International Festival, a series of concerts and choral performances is scheduled at Oxford University, Cambridge University, University of London and Queen Mary University of London.

Celebrations are also to be staged elsewhere in the UK, including Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Belfast, Birmingham and Nottingham.

On Jan 26, Manchester, which was home to some of the first Chinese people living in the UK and which claims to have the country's second-largest Chinatown, will see a parade, led by a 53.3-meter dragon, make its way from Manchester Central Library to the city's Chinatown from 12:30pm, with a fireworks finale at 6pm.

On the same day, Liverpool, the city which is known as the home of Europe's oldest Chinatown, dating back to the middle of the 19th century, will celebrate the special occasion with lanterns, street performances, parades and a food festival.

Old Market Square in Nottingham will host a Temple Fair, showcasing traditional and contemporary Chinese culture on Jan 18, and in Scotland, for the first time, a special program of events will celebrate the alignment of Chinese Lunar New Year with Burns Night, honoring legendary Scottish poet Robert Burns. Both fall on Jan 25, a coincidence of timing that is believed to only occur every 76 years.

Cultural highlights include Edinburgh's Official Chinese New Year Concert at the Usher Hall, the Giant Lanterns of China at Edinburgh Zoo and the opening of the brand-new East Asia Gallery at the National Museum of Scotland.

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