Celebrating the Chinese New Year?

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Then Happy New Year!

The year of the Wood Dragon

This year, Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on 10th February and ends with the Lantern Festival on 24th February. 2024 is the Year of the Wood Dragon. In Chinese astrology, wood years are known for their emphasis on growth, development and harmony, and dragon years for their energy and creativity. Some predict that, as a consequence, this year many current political conflicts in the world will be resolved – let’s hope so!

Traditionally, if this is your Ben Ming Nian (i.e. you were born in one of the years of the Dragon), it is thought not to be a lucky year; but fear not, any bad fortune can be warded off by wearing red. And it’s not all bad news. Energetic and charismatic, those born in the year of the Dragon are often intelligent, popular and successful.

You can find out more about the dragon in Chinese culture by reading Daisy Zhu’s blog.

Where to celebrate

If you are celebrating the Chinese New Year, then you are not alone – a staggering 20% of the world’s population will be joining you. London boasts the biggest celebrations outside China. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people descend on the West End to enjoy a colourful parade, free stage performances and traditional food.  This year the New Year Festival, organised by the London Chinatown Chinese Association takes place on Sunday 11th February. As well as the Parade, the largest gathering of Chinese Lions and Dragons in Europe, and stage performances, there are Chinese Dance and music shows, martial art displays and family friendly entertainment.

Closer to home

If you don’t want to travel to London though, there are plenty of smaller scale activities going on closer to home. On 10th February, the Museum of East Asian Art will be holding a day of activities including a traditional Lion Dance, crafts and workshops and a guzheng concert. You can also pick up a trail (follow a map) to find Chinese characters in phrases and worlds all over Bath city centre.

There will be events going on in Bristol as well, including an opportunity to watch vibrant song and dance performances, marvel at martial arts demonstrations, and learn about Chinese culture at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery throughout the weekend of 17th–18th February.

In addition, Friends International are hosting a Chinese New Year Cafe on Tuesday 6th Feb at Widcombe Baptist Church from 7pm-9pm. It will include a free Chinese main meal, the opportunity to try Chinese Calligraphy and a presentation on how the New Year is celebrated in China and other parts of Asia, including potential input from several students. Whilst this is a Christian organisation, all nationalities and all faiths are welcome. Likewise, St Barts Cafe is also hosting a Chinese New Year party on Friday 9th Feb at St Barts Church from 7:30pm-9:30pm where you can prepare and eat dumplings, make decorations and receive a red envelope.

On campus

Last but not least, if you are on campus on Thursday 8th and/or 15th February, why not head down to Esther Parkin at lunchtime, where the International Student Group will be celebrating by making Chinese Lanterns, decorating dragons and indulging in Chinese snacks. As we expect this to be quite popular, you’ll need to book a space to ensure you get a place.

Later on 8th February, there will a Chinese film night in University Hall (2W). From 5.30pm, there will be Chinese calligraphy and painting in the foyer and from 6.30pm there will be the screening of “The Wedding Banquet” a romantic comedy film directed, produced and co-written by Ang Lee.

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