Dancing dragons, unicorns and lions, firecrackers and fireworks displays, martial arts demonstrations and all kinds of Chinese nibbles. It must be Chinese New Year!
In 2016, cities and towns all over the UK welcome the Year of the Monkey between February 7 and 14. Here's the rundown:
- Birmingham Sunday, February 14, loads of free events at The Arcadian in the Chinese Quarter from 11:30 with a stage program from 12:30 until 5:30pm. Chinese Acrobats, singing, the Chinese Dragon Dance and Martial Arts. Hurst Street will be pedestrianized for the day. At least 30,000 people turn out for all the free events. Find more at the Birmingham Chinese New Year website.
- Chatham, Kent A small town but a big party. At one time this was third largest Chinese festival in the UK. In 2016, The Year of the Monkey will be welcomed with a parade on February 7. Medway Chinese New Year Parade sets off from Church Street at noon and then continues along Chatham High Street.
- Liverpool Did you know that Liverpool's Chinese Arch is the largest outside of China? As always, the arch, on Nelson Street, is where the oldest Chinese community in Europe celebrates. February 7 is the date in 2016 and there will be everything from a mass Tai Chi demonstration and a dragon and lion dance parade, to a Taste of China festival and a firecracker display. Check the Chinese community website for all the events, continuing until February 9.
- London, Trafalgar Square Traditionally, the London Chinatown Chinese Association celebrates on the first Sunday after Chinese New Year. That's February 14 in 2016, the Year of the Monkey. Events kick off with a grand parade along the Strand, Charing Cross Road and Shaftsbury Avenue followed by Trafalgar Square festivities. International artists, both Chinese and Western opera, and a firecracker demonstration over Leicestser Square that promises to be deafening. It's all happening between 10am and 6pm.
- Manchester puts on the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations in the north with four days of partying. In 2016, the main Chinese New Year festivities, including Dragon and Lion Dancing by Master Chu, Kung Fu demonstrations, folk dance performances, fireworks and a spectacular Golden Dragon Parade will take place on February 4 to 7. Find out more.
- Newcastle-Gateshead is planning a giant celebration on February 14 in 2016, with special events and activities for the whole family. Parades, firecrackers, banquets and Chinese acrobats are all scheduled. Newcastle turns Chinese New Year into a many splendored thing, with loads of events in the days and weeks leading up to the big day. Puppet and basket workshops, exhibitions and performances are all part of the fun. Find full details here
- Nottingham really goes to town for Chinese New Year, hosting entertaiment and fireworks from 4 to 6:15p.m. at the Highfields Park on February 14. Every year there's a full schedule of workshops and events leading up to the big day and a Chinese New Year Gala on February 20, presented by the Nottingham Confucius Institute (NCI) and the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA). Expect musicians, dancers, martial artists and singers from the local and national Chinese communities. This is a ticketed event at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall.