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, May 22, 2015
Believe it or not, beer is only one of the things on our list [Photograph by Tommaso Tagliaferri]

It’s the last bank holiday for a while, so you better make the most of it! Luckily we have a round-up of some of the best things to eat, drink and do in London.

Monday, April 27, 2015
The London Coffee Festival is the place to go for excellent espresso [Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]

London’s coffee maniacs are about to emerge from their polished wood, exposed brick caverns and assemble in one bean-scented place for the London Coffee Festival 2015.

Friday, April 24, 2015
[Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images]

London will celebrate St George’s Day 2015 on Saturday 25th April with a feast and festivities in Trafalgar Square. Here’s our complete guide.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Runners in last year's marathon (Pic by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

The London Marathon is coming up on Sunday April 26, and as it’s one of the largest mass participation events in the world, there’s going to be a fair bit of travel disruption - but don’t worry, we’re here to guide you through the road closures.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Canary Wharf is one of the best places for spectators to watch the maraton [Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images]

The London Marathon takes place this Sunday (April 26). Here, we round up the best places and pubs for atmosphere and comfort.

Friday, April 10, 2015
Hopefully he had a car nearby and didn't have to get the bus with that lot

It was only a pretend heist, but one avid gamer still managed to walk away with £10,000.

Breaking News

Friday, May 22, 2015

There are severe delays on the Central Line after a woman was hit by a Tube train.

Read more

Don't Miss...

Competitions

You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Read more

What is this?

Near You Now