Chinese New Year officially kicks off on 28 January, and if you can’t be bringing in the Year of the Rooster on the streets of Shanghai then London – home to the largest celebrations outside Asia – is the place to be. The festival lasts until 15 February and marks...
Chinese New Year officially kicks off on 28 January, and if you can’t be bringing in the Year of the Rooster on the streets of Shanghai then London – home to the largest celebrations outside Asia – is the place to be.
The festival lasts until 15 February and marks the lunisolar Chinese calendar, which is why the dates change from year to year. Each year is dedicated to one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac – 2016 was the goat, now it’s the rooster’s turn to crow. Chinese zodiac signs are determined by the year in which you were born, which some believe affects your personality and future.
According to Chinese mythology, people born under the sign of the rooster – that’s those born in 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969 – are said to be trustworthy, hard-working and sociable, but also shameless attention-seekers. Parades, parties, installations and events promise to inject a huge dose of life into the Capital at an otherwise fairly quiet time of year. Here is your guide to making the most of the celebrations:
Catch the parade
More than 700,000 people are expected to turn out for the annual Chinese New Year parade, which sets off from Trafalgar Square, taking the party down Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue before snaking around the streets of Soho and finishing up in the heart of Chinatown. Expect a riot of colour and movement with music, floats, acrobatics, pyrotechnics and more dragons than a Game of Thrones cast party.
29 January, from 10am
Chinese New Year in Chinatown is, unsurprisingly, the busiest time of the year for its restaurants and eateries, so if you’re planning on heading there after the parade, prepare to queue. Still, every Chinese fan worth his wontons knows there is plenty of authentic cuisine to be had outside W1. Sidestep the crowds and head to My Old Place in Spitalfields for no-frills sizzling szechuan, Hutong at the top of the Shard for peking duck with a view, or Yauatcha City in Moorgate for dim sum to die for.
My Old Place, 88-90 Middlesex Street E1 7EZ
Hutong, 31 St Thomas Street SE1 9RY
Yauatcha, Broadgate Circle EC2M 2QS
Tune in to some traditional music
The Shaanxi Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra and Zhejiang Traditional Orchestra will team up to present a sample of the country’s colourful traditional music for the Barbican’s 20th Grand Chinese New Year concert. Across the river, conductor Long Yu will lead the Philharmonia Orchestra along with violinist Maxim Vengerov and a roster of top-flight musicians from East and West for the Southbank Centre’s annual celebrations.
The Grand Chinese New Year Concert, The Barbican Centre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS,
7 February from 7.30pm.
Chinese New Year Celebration: Philharmonia Orchestra, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX,
9 February from 7.30pm.