Things to do in London

Chinese New Year: Q&A

12:13 31 December 2013

Chinese New Year 2013 celebrations in London. Picture: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

Chinese New Year 2013 celebrations in London. Picture: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

2013 Getty Images

When and what is Chinese New Year? And what’s happening in London?

When?

The occasion falls on a different date every year, because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, not solar, meaning it takes account moon phases as well as the Earth’s movement around the Sun. The Gregorian calendar (January, February, March etc) is based just on the time it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun. Chinese New Year 2014 is on January 31.

How is celebrated?

The festival of new year runs for more than two weeks after Chinese New Year’s Eve, during which time gifts are exchanged and fireworks set off. At its culmination, a celebration known as Lantern Festival takes place, where paper lanterns are released into the sky, sometimes symbolising a relinquishing of past selves and an acquiring of new ones.

What’s taking place in London?

Both London and San Francisco claim to host the largest celebrations outside Asia, and last year saw more than half a million people descend on the West End. So you can expect festivities to be big – though little is confirmed yet. Events are planned in Trafalgar Square, Shaftesbury Avenue, Leicester Square and Chinatown for Sunday February 2.

And here are a few celebrations that have been confirmed: Enjoy cultural performances, food and charity stalls at this family event in east London; go clubbing in Brixton; or take your kids to the Museum of London in the Docklands to learn the art of Chinese papercutting. You could even learn more about the masterpieces of Chinese painting at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

What year is it?

2014 is the year of the horse, following on from 2012, the year of the snake and preceding 2015, whose animal is a goat.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Things to do in London

Friday, March 20, 2015
Battlefield Hardline: Live will have you hiding behind anything you can find to avoid being seen

Dying repeatedly on the virtual battlefield was, in hindsight, a clear indicator of how non-lethal I was about to be in real life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015
The multiplayer mode lets up to eight people get in on the action

You know the colourful light-up fountains in King’s Cross’ Granary Square? You can use your phone to control them in a huge game of Snake.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
The floor where a murder took place (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A remarkable new exhibition on the history of forensics, featuring the floor where a man was killed, mortuary slabs and bullet-riddled brains is opening at the Wellcome Collection.

Friday, February 13, 2015
Visitors to the Magnificent Obsessions exhibition look at record covers collected by Mexican artist Dr Lakra  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images for Barbican Art Gallery)

Even world-famous artists have a soft spot for the kitsch, the cheesy and even downright tat as this exhibition of their own collections goes on display at the Barbican.

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Tastes can be created at the push of a button using the electronic lolly (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

What drives our desire to eat? Is it our own appetite - or maybe it’s food tricking us into it, or the bacteria in our gut, or even the colour of the spoon we use.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
The beautiful Tropical Extravaganza at Kew Gardens

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, London24 reporter Dominic Gover selects the Top 5 most romantic places in London to take that special someone.

Don't Miss...

Quizzes

Can you guess which politicians make up these coalition lovechildren?

As the election draws near, there’s been lots of talk about another coalition, which got us thinking: What would it look like if Boris Johnson and Ed Miliband had a baby?

Read more
Fulham Wikipedia quiz

Prove your credentials as a true Fulham fan by taking our Whites Wikipedia quiz.

Read more
Crystal Palace Wikipedia quiz

Crystal Palace have had their fair share of legends down the years, with many former Eagles enjoying glittering careers.

Read more

Competitions

Munch on a tasy three course dinner at The Refinery!

“Where to go for a drink near Great Portland Street?” was previously met with blank expressions and shrugs for those local to the area, not anymore, thanks to the opening of The Refinery at Regent’s Place, the eighth bar and restaurant from hugely-successful group Drake & Morgan.

Read more

What is this?

Near You Now