Many locals come together to make preparations for Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the most prominent Chinese celebration of the year. Chinese people use the lunar calendar, so the date of Chinese New Year varies from year to year. But it usually falls somewhere between 21 January and 20 February. The reason the new year falls at this time is because it marks the start of the lunar new year, which is when it is the start of a new moon. This year Chinese New Year falls on Saturday 25 January 2020. The festival correlates to the new moon. ​

In Chinese tradition, each year is named after one of 12 animals, which feature in the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Each animal has a year dedicated to them once every twelve years.

So how do they celebrate it then?  Before the festivities start, people usually clean their houses to sweep away any bad luck. On New Year’s Eve, all brooms, brushes and dust pans are put away so that good luck isn’t swept out of the door. Houses are decorated with scrolls and banners, which have phrases of good luck. Children receive red envelopes full of money, along with other gifts. Lion and dragon dances take place; the loud drumming and the cymbals chase away evil spirits and bad luck. Chinese New Year is a time for families to be together. They have a family reunion meal the day before Chinese New Year. It has been a long tradition to set off firecrackers. Many firework displays go off at 12am in China.

So why is it called the Spring Festival? This is because it marks the beginning of spring and the end of winter. It is the season for sowing and ploughing, as well as the start of a new life for many people. The luckiest colour is red so many people wear red clothes on that special day to bring luck upon themselves. As the year of 2020 is the year of the rat, there would be decorations that have rats on them this year.

"Chinese New Year is my absolute favourite time of year. It is so lively and I can be my true 'foodie' self, where I can eat masses of food, without getting told off. Personally, I think Chinese New Year is a time to be jubilant and have some good quality family time. Also we get days off of school. I get money in red envelopes and everyone exchanges wishes of luck, wealth and prosperity. There is a lot of fun activities to do. I LOVE IT ALL!" Says Xiaomei Wang, aged 11.

Traditionally, the celebrations last for fifteen days. It ends on the day of the full moon when the moon is at its brightest. The first week is celebrated by visiting family and friends, following the festive traditions intended to bring good luck. The second week ends with the Lantern Festival on the evening of the 15th day of the lunar month.

If you wish to celebrate it alongside others in London, there are Chinese activities taking place in Chinatown, Trafalgar Square and all across West End. There are vibrant parades, as well as beautiful performances and displays.


By Losigga Rajahvisvalingam