Happy Chinese New Year 2014!

night-life-new-york-chinatownHappy Chinese New Year to all of our readers!

Chinese New Year took place on 31st January this year, but the biggest day for celebrations in the UK is today, 2nd February. London’s Chinatown is set to hold the best New Year event in the country, with other big cities such as Birmingham and Manchester to follow suit.

2014 marks the Year of the Horse, with 2013 being the Year of the Snake and 2015 the Year of the Goat. This represents the animals of the Chinese zodiac, and the years cycle on a 12 year rotation.

Chinese New Year is typically celebrated in China with large family meals. It is also traditional to clean the entire house to make way for the good luck that will come with the New Year. Some people also give gifts of money in red paper envelopes to signify wealth, prosperity and good fortune.

In countries with a significant Chinese population, it is normal for Chinese New Year to be a public holiday to allow families to get together and celebrate.

Each of the days of the New Year celebrations is dedicated to a particular activity. For example, the first day is about welcoming the deities and scaring away the bad spirits with fireworks and firecrackers. On the 13th day, people eat a vegetarian diet to cleanse their bodies from the preceding days of festivities, while the 15th day, or the Lantern Festival, marks the end of the New Year celebrations.

Food is traditionally meat, fish and a series of vegetarian dishes eaten on different days of the New Year festivities. A hot pot often forms part of the reunion family meal to represent the coming together of the family, and dumplings are eaten as it is thought that the preparation represents packaging luck inside the dumplings.

If you have been celebrating Chinese New Year, we would love to hear all about it.

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