It’s Chinese New Year tomorrow (19th February), and this year is known as the Year of the Ram, which is the 8th sign of the Chinese Zodiac. The exact origin and date of the Chinese New Year is unknown but many speculate that it may have been as early as 2300BC under Emperor Yao and Shun.
It is thought the New Year was traditionally celebrated to honour ancestors and also deities but some believe it was started by a mythical fight against a creature with the head of a lion and an ox like body known as the ‘Year’. Apparently, it was soon realised that this beast was afraid of loud noises and the colour red, so locals used lanterns and fireworks to keep it at bay. These can be seen in the colourful (and noisy) parades that are held around the world.
Why not join in the traditions and experience the awe-inspiring celebrations by heading to one of these fantastic destinations…
The beautiful city of Barcelona is a great place to celebrate the Chinese New Year, as it has been twinned with Shanghai since 2001 and it’s only a short distance by plane from the UK. Enjoy the celebrations and don’t forget to explore the cultural attractions.
Rome boasts a huge array of fantastic performances to celebrate the Chinese New Year with martial art professionals, acrobats and dancers. The celebrations here are promoted by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and in 2012 over fifty thousand people took part.
Even Greece host’s superb Chinese New Year celebrations, the biggest and best of which can be found in Athens’ Chinatown. No doubt this year will be the best of all, making a change from the once intimate and low-key celebrations.
If you’re looking for Europe’s biggest Chinese New Year celebrations then head to London, as it boasts an array of festivities including a colourful parade. Enjoy some traditional Chinese food for a great price and explore the streets to catch all of the performances.
The celebrations in Manchester are expected to be bigger than ever, so if you’re closer to here than London, it’s definitely worth a look! In 2014 around ninety thousand people celebrated in the city, enjoying the fantastic parades and the amazing food.
Paris is another superb destination for Chinese New Year celebrations, as many of the districts here are decorated and events take place through the streets. Watch as the dancing dragons move swiftly past and see if you can catch a glimpse of the Chinese lanterns.
Amsterdam is proud to host some of the biggest celebrations in Europe, so why not spend some time here instead of the UK. Party in the streets, as the parade goes by, watch the lanterns and dragons and prepare yourself for the noisy firecrackers!
Another brilliant Italian destination that’s perfect for celebrating the Chinese New Year is Milan, as it’s home to the largest Chinatown in Italy. Get ready to experience unmissable parades, bright colours and an atmosphere that will make you feel instantly energised.
Are you joining the Chinese celebrations this year? If so, tweet us your photos and let us know what you’re doing and where you are!