Chinese New Year is a great time of year to experience a different culture, from amazing foods to fireworks displays and impressive street parades. Over the years the event has become bigger and bigger each year meaning you can travel to most cities to get a taste of the Chinese New Year experience.
Before we get to the list though, we've summarised a brief history of Chinese New Year to make sure you're in the know before celebrating!
Dating back 3,800 years, stories of traditional New Year’s celebrations in China talk of sacrificing animals to gods, burning bamboo (now mimicked by firecrackers) and something called a ‘year monster’ with the body of an ox and the head of a lion - which villagers would scare off by hanging red paper lanterns.
Some of these traditions are still upheld to this day but have evolved to fit with the times. Nowadays, Chinese New Year is more about how important it is to spend time and share blessings with family and loved ones, including sharing small red envelopes containing money as a sign of good luck.
Another difference between now and 3,800 years ago is, of course, that Chinese New Year is now celebrated worldwide! No matter where you’re from, you can celebrate the arrival of the new year with us...
Why not celebrate the Year of the Pig in Manchester? Events and festivities run from Thursday 7-Sunday 10 February including...
Family Workshops that teach the Chinese art of papercutting, where children can create their own pig-shaped fans. (9th Feb at the Manchester Arndale from 11am - 5pm)
The Dragon Parade (10th Feb) has to be the highlight - follow the 175-foot dragon around the city as it heads towards Chinatown! Manchester’s Chinese quarter is the second largest in the UK, and will be alive with a festive buzz this time of year. It's the perfect place to get a true taste of Chinese cuisine!
If you're interested in any of the events above or want to find out more head over to the Visit Manchester website.
If you want to take the family out for a truly exciting adventure, Newcastle throws one amazing Chinese New Year party! On 10 February from 11am onwards, the entire Chinatown street will be closed off to bring a host of Chinese celebrations to life!
If you’re keen to see the Lion and Dragon dances be sure to arrive at Chinatown for midday so you can watch this traditional event! While you’re watching Dragons and Lions dance, don’t miss out on the funfair and stalls which feature amazing authentic foods, as well as Chinese arts and crafts for you to discover.
This will be taking place all day, making it the perfect excuse for a day trip to Newcastle! Keen to know more? Follow the link to the official Newcastle Gateshead website for all the details.
We saved the biggest and the best for last! No place in the UK celebrates Chinese New Year quite like London. Although Chinese New Year takes places on the 5th of February, the main event in London takes places on the 10th so be sure to book your travel now in time for the big day!
Once you're in the city, the hot spots will be in and around Trafalgar Square. This is where the main stage is located and will be hosting performances including interactive dance sessions, Chinese rock hits, traditional Dragon dances and an incredible acrobatics show. Be sure to stick around towards the end of the night to catch the fireworks display, which illuminates Trafalgar Square - the perfect end to a fantastic festival.
Chinatown London will also be the best place to grab a bite to eat while you’re exploring the city. With Asian cuisine spanning from Korean barbecue, authentic dumplings and the latest trend of Bubble Waffles, yummy!
That wraps up our guide to the best places you can experience Chinese New Year. Be sure to let us know if you’re planning on visiting any of our recommendations, or if there are any great ones we’ve missed!
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