It’s almost lunar new year, which will see revellers across the world get ready for two weeks of celebrations to welcome in 12 months of the Rooster
The start of the lunar year is getting ever closer, and millions across the world are preparing to gather with family, get out the firecrackers and celebrate Chinese New Year.
This January denotes the beginning of the Year of the Rooster, defined by the Chinese zodiac cycle.
The day is traditionally marked with the giving of gifts and celebrations with family, as well as looking to what the sign of the Rooster will mean for the year ahead.
Here’s everything you need to know about Chinese New Year.
When is Chinese New Year and why does the date change every year?
The Year of the Rooster will begin on January 28, 2017.
Celebrations will begin on January 27, New Year’s Eve, and typically last around two weeks, making this the longest holiday in the Chinese calendar.
This year the festivities are set to end on February 2.
Chinese New Year takes place on a different date every year, because it is based on the lunar calendar.
In this calendar a month is two days shorter than in the solar calendar so to make up for it an extra month is added every few years.
The lunar calendar means the celebration always falls on a different date – unlike the January 1 New Year we are used to, based on the Gregorian calendar.
But Chinese New Year always falls between the end of January and mid-February.
Each year is denoted by a different symbol from the Chinese 12 year animal zodiac, with this year being matched to the tenth sign. Last year was the Year of the Goat.
What animal represents this year?
The Chinese calendar attaches different animals from the zodiac to each lunar year in a cycle of 12 years.
This year is the Year of the Rooster.
But for people born in a rooster year – 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005 – it is set to be an unlucky time because tradition denotes that the year of your birth makes for an unlucky 12 months.
Roosters are the tenth sign in the zodiac and are seen as confident, honest and hardworking. They also enjoy being around people but can be seen as attention seekers.
How is Chinese New Year celebrated?
Chinese New Year is celebrated with the ringing of bells, the lighting of firecrackers and watching traditional lion dances.
In China New Year’s Eve is seen as an important date, with families gathering together for a reunion dinner. Firecrackers are then let off to signal the end of last year and the beginning of next.
On New Year’s Day, families gather, clean their houses and sweep away bad-fortune.
Red envelopes stuffed with “lucky money” are given to children, along with written wishes for their kids to grow up healthy.
However Chinese New Year has also been touched by the digital age, with red envelope apps – where people can exchange cyber money – being launched.
People also decorate their houses with red paper cutouts, banners and special New Year paintings during the festive period. This year is also likely to see Rooster themed decorations.
How to celebrate Chinese New Year
From London’s famous parade to huge celebrations in Manchester and Newscastle, here’s how to celebrate the Year of the Rooster where you live.
Chinese New Year activities in London
Over 700,000 people flock to celebrate Chinese New Year in London, making their festivities the largest outside of Asia.
Celebrations will take place on Sunday 29th January between 10am and 6pm in Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and across the West End and are all free to attend.
Kicking off with a colourful parade that snakes from Charing Cross Road to Shaftesbury Avenue, the lively display will include dragon dancers, vibrant, hand-crafted floats and martial arts – all led by a flying Chinese lion.
The London Eye will also join the citywide celebrations with a specially designed red and gold lightshow every hour from 4pm over the weekend, as well as “surprise and delight moments” for maximum excitement.
Chinese New Year activities in Manchester
Manchester will be hosting a four day long extravaganza, spanning from Thursday 26th – Sunday 29th January.
6,000 red lanterns will line the shopping streets of the city centre and a Chinese Food Market will take place in St. Ann’s Square.
The ever-popular Dragon Parade will be there (complete with 50ft glittering golden dragon), along with spectacular music, fireworks and entertainment, plus the stunning ‘Lanterns of the Terracotta Warrior’s exhibition.
Chinese New Year activities in Liverpool
Liverpool’s celebrations seem to be the most unique of the lot, showcasing a special Chinese New Year lumiere event complete with projections, as well as a specially-created augmented reality trail, on top of the usual street performances and parades.
While celebrations will be will in full force from 11am on Sunday 29th January, the special 12 minute long lumiere creation (which will light up the city’s Chinese Arch) will take place each evening over the course of the weekend, from 7.30pm – 8.30pm on January 27 and 28 and 5pm – 6pm on January 29.
Chinese New Year activities in Newcastle
Newcastle will be ringing in the Year of the Rooster on Sunday 29th January with a full day of Chinese-inspired events, performances and activities for all ages.
While the whole town will be alive with festivities such as a Chinese market, performance stage for lion and dragon dancing, as well as a marquee and fairground, the majority of festivities will be taking place in Stowell Street, home to Newcastle’s Chinatown.
The event will last from 11am – 4pm and is completely free.