Just a little article on the Chinese New Year for 2024. This year it is on Saturday 10th February, although there is a lot of activity over the whole weekend and even later in the month. Each Chinese year is marked by an animal. 2024 is the year of the Dragon. Find out more about the UK Chinese New Year Discover why it’s on a different day to the Gregorian New Year. Learn about events in the north west, the UK and the rest of the world that mark the event and much more too.
Chinese New Year Celebrations in the North West
Both Manchester and Liverpool have a wide range of events to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Liverpool and Manchester have vibrant China Town areas with activities over the whole weekend. Of course that includes the inevitable parade with dragons and drums. Organisations and locals have decorated the streets with Chinese lanterns to add to the feel. If you scour the internet, you may find competing claims that both are the largest in the UK after London. Having visited both frequently, I’d definitely say it doesn’t matter as both offer an interesting place for a wander round, meal or even more so at the lunar new year.
The supermarkets are always worth dropping in. Great genuine ingredients and even kitchen utensils and crockery for your own Chinese Fakeaway meal at home!
Liverpool Chinatown and Events
You can trace back the roots of Liverpool’s Chinatown to trade between its port and Shanghai as long ago as 1866. The first ship arrived in Liverpool earlier than that in 1834. Private trade proliferated following changes to the East India Company’s charter. Companies such as the Blue Funnel line concentrated on Chinese trade and commodities including wool, cotton and silk boomed.
The city is twinned with Shanghai. The prominent Imperial arch stands at a height of 44ft was a gift from Shanghai. It is built from marble and wood and adorned with 200 dragons. Did you know they shipped it over in its constituent parts back in 1999 and provided 20 specially selected craftsmen from Shanghai to erect it in Nelson Street in time for the New Year celebrations in 2000.
Chinatown Liverpool is the oldest sizeable Chinese community in Europe. In World War I 6,000 Chinese sailors served in the British Merchant Navy. Around 1,500 were based in Liverpool. In World War II circa 20,000 Chinese Sailors were registered with the British Merchant Navy. Many lost their lives from German U Boat attacks. Generally a great place for a wander round even when not in New Year with its restaurants, supermarkets and bi-lingual street signs.
Easy to get to as Liverpool’s Chinatown is situated in the south of the city centre, close to the Anglican Cathedral. Look for Duke Street or Nelson Street, though it does cover many more in that vicinity. Head left out of Lime Street Station towards the bombed out Church at the top of Bold Street.
For a list of the masses of parades, shows, stalls and decorations please look here: all you need to know about Liverpool’s Chinese New Year.
With it’s arch erected in 1987 on Faulkner Street in, the compact area has a good selection of restaurants, bakeries and Chinese supermarkets. Early settlers go back to the early 1900s. Sources indicate many were involved in the laundry trade. In the 1950s, the population grew with the UK labour shortages and corresponding urban development of Hong Kong. By the 1970s, the business side had grown significantly through supermarkets, restaurants, medicine, finance including Hongkong and Shanghai Bank.
So what can expect to find? There’s certainly a lot in common with Liverpool with red lanterns, live performances, stalls and funfair and the legendary Dragon Parade.
For details on a wide range of events taking place in Manchester please click: Manchester Chinese New Year Events
Why is the Chinese New Year on a Different Date to the UK’s?
The date of the Chinese New Year varies each year. It is based on the lunar calendar. It falls on the second New Moon following the Winter Solstice which occurs on December 21st. Yet millions of people across the world celebrate the Lunar New Year. To be precise it is based on a lunisolar calendar. It combines the Moon’s phase and the time in the solar year.
Rather than a New Year’s Day the Chinese celebrate a week!
Year of the Dragon
Every lunar year, the Chinese have an associated animal of the zodiac. Each has a significant meaning and associated traits. Last year was the rabbit. This year the Dragon symbolises talent, power and excellence meaning 2024 is forecast to be a year for change. People born in the Year of the Dragon are considered to be strong, innovative, and ambitious. They are believed to bring good fortune and blessings to those around them.
Chinese Lantern Festival
The festival officially takes place on the 15th day of the first lunar month to mark the end of the festival. Its true name is the Yuan Xiao festival to honour ancestors. It is popular in both China and many other Asian countries.
The streets around Chinatown in Manchester and Liverpool are adorned with red lanterns. You will even find events where you can make your own too. As well as the red lanterns, a number of local landmarks across the cities will be lit up in red to mark the occasion.
A UK Chinese New Year – Useful Links
Other calendars historic and worldwide
Want to Learn Chinese?
Hey want to teach yourself Chinese for free? It could be just for fun or even keeping your mind active. There is a great free App called Duolingo. Although there are two main varieties of Chinese, Mandarin and Cantonese. Mandarin is spoken across more parts of China.
Try the following links for the App and website.
Desktop / laptop: Duolingo – The world’s best way to learn a language
Find out more about Local Chinese New Year Events
As a final reminder here are two useful links to all the events in Manchester, Liverpool and around.