In the Chinese Lunar Calendar, 2019 celebrates the year of the pig. This animal is not thought to be one of the smarter animals out of the zodiac signs as it enjoys sleeping, eating and becomes fat, making it known for being one of the lazier animals. But with this it is well behaved, can bring prosperity to others and is regarded as bringing wealth.
All the zodiac signs play an integral part in Chinese culture and have done for many years. They are normally used to determine certain things in the year such as marriage compatibility, best time to have children, lucky numbers and colours, careers and to tell the fortune for the year.
Originally this day was a ceremonial day where people would pray to the gods and ancestors for a good harvesting and planting season and good luck for the forthcoming year. Firecrackers are also set off in abundance as this is meant to scare away monster and bad spirits, along with this the colour red is also used in decorations, strings of red dry chillies, red lanterns and red money wallets are given out to bring prosperity in the new year. You will see the locals dress in red clothes throughout the Spring, as this is another sign of bringing good luck not only to them but to their family. When the new year celebrations are finished, there is also a large lantern festival held in China this is known to the locals as Valentines Day and is a time to be spent with family so a little different to how we celebrate our Valentines day in the UK.
Chinese New Year is not only celebrated in China, this is not surprising with one out of every five people in the World being of Chinese descent. Some of the biggest celebrations outside of China are known to take place in London, Sydney and San Francisco.
These 3 cities all fight and claim to put on the biggest and best parties, parades and celebrations for the spring festivals outside of Asia. Let’s look at how each of the cities celebrates this occasion.
London – This year it is held on the 10th February with the main celebrations take place in London’s China town, the west end and Trafalgar square. With parades, stage performances, and all-day entertainment there is something for everyone to enjoy. Make sure that you keep an eye out for the lion and dragon dancers as these are meant to bring you good luck, and to top the day off our favourite as always there will be a finale of performances followed by a spectacular firework display to make sure that the end of day does go out with a bang.
Sydney – Along with the celebration is a vibrant arts festival taking place on the 16th of February. There will be cultural events, exhibitions, markets, and entertainment aplenty. On the opening night from 5:30pm Sydney harbour will be glowing red as the firework display kicks off celebrations. Giant lanterns each representing the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac will also illuminate the sky around the circular quay. Along with this there will be dragon boat races in Darling Harbour and in China town lion dances, parades, zodiac roulette and performances.
San Francisco – Although there is not an official firework display there will be some serious noise and plenty of firecrackers in this celebration taking some earplugs is advised. The main event is the grand parade that is held on the 23rd February where more than half a million people gather to watch the parade boasting over 100 parade entries. People will be marching with flags, lanterns, and drums along with floats preceded by dancing lions and dragons. The main the spectacle of the parade is a 28-foot golden dragon dancing through the streets. The parade is also televised so you can watch from home if you can’t make it or if you want to stay away from the crowds. Along with the parade, there will be lots of events held both through February and March all part of this fantastic celebration.
If you know of any Chinatown in any place nearby yourself then why not look for yourself and experience or take part in one of the many celebrations that are happening all around the world.