LONDON, January 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
Celebrations across London mark the Chinese New Year
Saturday 28th January marks the first day of the 2017 Chinese lunar calendar and the Year of the Red Fire Rooster. The biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia, Chinese New Year celebrations in London will kick off on Friday 27th January for New Year's eve and culminate on Sunday, 29th January in Trafalgar Square and around London.
Every year, London lights up in celebration of Chinese culture and tradition. Hundreds of thousands of people descend on the West End to wish each other "Xin Nian Kuai Le" (Happy New Year in Mandarin) or "San Nin Faai Lok" (in Cantonese). This year, to ring in the Year the Rooster, events will include parades, activities and shows, fireworks, lanterns and lions.
Mr. Xiang Xiaowei, the Minister Counsellor of Cultural Affairs of the Chinese Embassy, said: "Chinese New Year is the ideal time to share happiness and joy, reinforce friendship and send best wishes and blessing to friends for the coming year. This year, the Rooster is an excellent sign for the UK's and China's strong economic and cultural relationship. The biggest opportunity so far is the "One belt One Road" initiative, which will nurture this relationship, linking the UK to countries in the Asia Pacific. The UK is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations for China and UK retailers will see an influx of Chinese visitors during this year's festive period. Equally, I am touched to see how the Chinese community treasure the tradition and will share these moments with communities across the UK. At a time when the world is facing myriads of uncertainty, the Chinese New Year provides an opportunity for us to share our commitment to mutual growth and celebrating together."
Though the festivities are now a staple of London's yearly festivities, outside of China, the origins of the festival are lesser known. The story typically begins with a mythical lion-like monster that preyed on villagers, called Nian (年), which is also the Chinese word for "year." The Nian was defeated by warding him off with drums and firecrackers, and by hanging red paper cutouts and scrolls on doors, a colour that scared the monster.
Traditional celebrations are rooted in the coming of spring, and the preparations for a new growing season. Customs include:
- Sharing red envelopes with money inside among children and unmarried adults, to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits;
- Decorating the house with mandarin oranges and lotus flowers, symbolising happiness and rebirth;
- Food is an essential part of the festival, traditionally including sweet, sticky rice cakes and savory dumplings - which are round and symbolize never-ending wealth
What's in store for Roosters in 2017
Beginning on January 28, 2017 and ending on February 15, 2018, Chinese New Year in 2017 marks the beginning of the Year of the Red Fire Rooster. Each year is related to an animal sign according to a 12-year cycle and the Rooster is tenth in the Chinese zodiac. Years of the Rooster include 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, and 2029.
According to Chinese astrology, rooster years are filled with integrity and efficiency. Hard work is the key to achieving success this year. Predictions suggest that this year can be beneficial to your career and financial investments, but you will need to time your business ventures well if you want to take advantage of the most profitable periods.
SOURCE The Chinese Embassy