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Get Ready For The Rooster This Chinese New Year

chinatown london-chinese new year red packet

A riot of colour and celebration, Chinese New Year is the ultimate in family-friendly, joyful fun

This coming 28th January 2017 heralds the most important date in the Chinese calendar: the Lunar New Year. Officially the largest holiday in the world, all of China will take a break to mark this super-special occasion. Starting on the second new moon of the winter solstice, the festival boasts fifteen days worth of parades, parties and plenty of food. And we just get a measly one night’s booze-up. Jealous much?

chinatown london-Shopping in New Year markets

Shopping in New Year markets is essential in Chinese New Year celebration.

2017 is the Year of the Rooster, the tenth sign of the Chinese Zodiac. Those born under the sign are diligent, hardworking and courageous. Above all, Chinese New Year is about family and friends. Homes bedecked with lanterns, papercuts and door gods will welcome loved ones. Families unite over the dinner table for a reunion feast, on communal dishes like pork or beef hotpot, dumplings, taro cakes and snack treats such as peanuts and melon candy. Chinese wines, or baijiu, like Maotai and Wuliangye are drunk in celebration. After dinner families will enjoy chess games and Mahjong, with the sound of the massive gala live broadcasting on CCTV (China Central Television) in the background.

chinatown london-Abalone mixed dish

Chinese styled Abalone mixed dish, also known as “Poon Choy” in Chinese, is a popular dish in Guangdong province. Ingredients includes abalone, scallop, oyster, shitake mushroom, pork meat, brocolli, fish maw, among others.

One of Chinese New Year’s key customs is the gifting of red envelopes by senior family members to younger ones. Typically, they contain money and are slept on for a patience-testing seven nights after the festival to symbolize good luck and fortune.

Out of the home and onto the streets, the sights and sounds of fireworks and firecrackers will be permeating the air. Red is everywhere: from hanging lanterns and dragon dances to clothing. It’s believed that red can ward off bad spirits and usher in good blessings. Much like Christmas, temporary markets pop up selling all the Chinese New Year essentials like decorations, clothes and gifts.

chinatown london-wan jun chinese new year decoration

Want to decorate your room in Chinese New Year style? Head to Wan Jun and ask the aunt to pick something authentic for you.

To celebrate Chinese New Year in London head to Chinatown on Sunday 29th January for the biggest dragon and lion parade in Europe. Kicking off at 10am, expect food and craft stalls galore, plus martial art displays and music performances. Restaurants will be hosting special menus too so it’s an unmissable experience.

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