Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar, celebrated around the world

Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar, and no matter where in the world you are, you can get involved.

London’s annual Chinese New Year celebrations, the biggest in the world outside China, will be bringing Chinatown to life once again for 2016 and the year of the monkey. The parade along Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue features ten lion teams performing the biggest lion dance in a European public parade. Trafalgar Square will see vibrant performances from acrobats, high pole dancers and troupes from China. This year will also see nine monkey dancers take to the stage followed by a light projection on Nelson's Column.

The adorable monkey lanterns displayed in Singapore and the annual Festive Street Bazaar – which features 440 stalls hawking everything from decorations to delicacies – line the streets of Chinatown, so head on over if you haven’t already. There are also nightly song and dance shows at Kreta Ayer Square, a walking trail and a Harmony Night that brings together eight clan associations and religious groups to celebrate diversity. Everything culminates in the countdown party on February 7th. The shindig ends with a display of fireworks and firecrackers at the stroke of midnight.

If you’re in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year, you’re in luck as Chinese New Year is the city’s biggest and most colourful festival. It is impossible to not be caught up in the energy as you squeeze into crowded temples to pray for good fortune, browse festive markets selling auspicious foods and blooms and photograph the shock-red lanterns that adorn the city. This ancient festival also gets a makeover that is uniquely Hong Kong. So, you will experience a Chinese New Year like no other, with a fabulous parade of floats, international and local performers, a stunning fireworks show over the harbour, heart-pounding action at the race track, and so much more.

We asked two of Propsect’s Hong Kong residents to share with us their experiences of this magnificent festival.

Karen Zeng, our Executive Assistant, shares the typical traditions including a New Year’s Eve Dinner which is seen very much as a family reunion; bringing together family from all over the world. As a child, Karen and her family would have their NYE dinner at home, nowadays however, they eat out and enjoy lots of delicious food. Karen notes that travelling and vacations have become much more popular at this time of year. Karen also loves the Chinese New Year Flower Markets which are temporary open-air markets selling flowers, decorations, food and small arts all dedicated to the New Year celebrations.

Our Consultant, Renne Chui, also raves about the family dinners at this special time of year but has also shared some traditions such as, in some very traditional Chinese beliefs, buying shoes is prohibited during Chinese New Year as it is thought to bring you bad luck, so shoes are bought before or after the New Year. The 7th day of Chinese New Year is the celebration of Human Day and according to Chinese customs, this is the day when man was created, which means it’s actually a Birthday for everyone! Renne’s mother presents her and her family with a few Pomelo leafs to use in the shower as, according to an Old Chinese saying, pomelo leafs remove all the “bad luck” meaning you will have a fresh, clean New Year.

Both Karen and Renee speak very fondly of the Red Packets which are presented at this time of year to the elderly and children. From all of us here at Prospect, we wish you a very happy and peaceful New Year!


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