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Chinese New Year 2017: Free family events in the UK

Published 26 January 2017 by

Are you looking for something fun to do with your family this weekend? Something a bit different rather than just going to the cinema or bowling again, but that won’t break the bank?

If this is you, why not check out some of the UK’s celebrations for Chinese New Year 2017 (Saturday 28 January)? Marking the start of the new lunar year, it’s one of China’s biggest festival days. And in recent years, it’s gained popularity in the UK too, with a host of parades and free events across the country.

Whether you’re in London, Manchester, Birmingham or Cardiff, find out how you can celebrate the Year of the Rooster on a budget.

What is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year represents the start of the new lunar year. In China, it’s a time for clearing your home to make room for good luck and starting afresh.

Every lunar year has a zodiac animal in China. This goes in a 12-year cycle and in 2017, it will be the Year of the Rooster.

If you’re celebrating Chinese New Year 2017, make sure you wear something red. According to Chinese tradition, this will bring you luck. And remember that’s it’s still January so don’t forget to wrap up warm!

Free family events

London: It’s no surprise that the capital always goes all out for Chinese New Year – and 2017 is no exception. Check out the free Chinese New Year celebrations on Saturday at the V&A Museum of Childhood, featuring crafty Chinese costume workshops and traditional music and dance performances.

Manchester: With the second-largest Chinatown in England, Manchester is celebrating Chinese New Year for several days. Head down to St Ann’s Square for the Chinese food market and if you’re around on Sunday, you can watch the spectacular Dragon Parade – it starts at 12pm in Albert Square.

Birmingham: This year marks the 15th Chinese New Year Festival in Birmingham, and organisers have promised it will be the biggest one yet. Little ones will love making their very own Lego Chinese Arch at The Patrick Centre in Birmingham Hippodrome on Sunday and there’s also free face painting at The Arcadian.

Liverpool: The streets of Liverpool are already bright and colourful thanks to more than 500 Chinese lanterns for Chinese New Year, in preparation for the three days of festivities. Kids can make a paper dragon or junk boat at the Merseyside Maritime Museum on Saturday – guaranteed to keep them busy for a little while!

Newcastle: Thousands of people are likely to head down for Newcastle’s Chinese New Year celebrations so make sure you get there early. Sunday’s highlights include a Children’s Marquee at Thornton Square and the lion, dragon and unicorn dance at the Chinese Arch.

Bristol: While Bristol might not have as big Chinese New Year festivities as some other cities, that doesn’t mean there’s not still a host of great events. Check out the New Year market at Wai Yee Hong in Eastgate Oriental City where you can taste some tasty dumplings and watch the dazzling Chinese firecrackers.

Perth, Scotland: Chinese New Year celebrations only started in Perth a couple of years ago so they’re still relatively new to the city. Head to the Chinese New Year Party on Monday starting on High Street and follow the dragon parade to welcome in the New Year.

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