Gong Hei Fat Choy! Celebrations are underway across the Midlands to mark Chinese New Year which starts tomorrow.
The annual three-day festival begins on Saturday 25th January with colourful parades across the region.
This year marks the year of the Rat. It’s the first of the repeating 12-year cycle of animals that make up the Chinese zodiac calendar.
What does the Year of the Rat mean?
- This is your Chinese zodiac animal if you are born in 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, or even 2020
- In Chinese culture, the rat is seen as a sign of wealth
- Rats are seen as clever, quick thinkers who are successful
- But they are said to be happy with living a quiet and peaceful life
- In the terms of ‘yin and yang,’ the Rat is ‘yang’ and represents the beginning of a new day
- Sign of good luck for Rats: blue, gold and green colours
- Bad luck for Rats: avoid all things yellow and brown
In previous years, around 30,000 people have gathered in Birmingham’s Chinese Quarter to celebrate. Nottingham has already seen thousands of visitors gather for this year's festivities.
This year celebrations across the Midlands are expected to be bigger and better than ever before, here’s the full list of events across the region:
In the West Midlands on Friday 24th Jan:
- The University of Birmingham - The university’s Chinese Institute is hosting a free Chinese classical concert that will be held at Bramall Concert Hall. They’ll have live performances from artists including the winner of the Chinese version of X-factor Mary Jess.
Saturday 25th Jan:
- Touchwood Shopping Centre, Solihull - DANS Chinese Dance and Performing Arts group are leading the entertainment agenda in Solihull. There’ll be Classical Chinese dragon walkabouts that will weave their way around the centre, as well as umbrella dancing and Chinese folk singing.
- Walsall Central Library - The Lichfield Street Hub library will host craft events for all ages. Entry will cost £2 per child or £4 per family.
- Birmingham Chinese School, Albany House - The school is hosting its annual Fete in spectacular fashion with a range of traditional Chinese food, games and a sale!
- Chinese New Year at Bullring & Grand Central - Lion and dragon dances, Classical fan and umbrella dances , Face changing performances, Shaolin Warriors, Community performances.
Sunday 26th Jan:
- Hippodrome Square, Hurst Street & The Arcadian - Lion and dragon dances • Classical fan and umbrella dances • Face changing performances • Shaolin Warriors • Community performances
And in the East Midlands, starting from Saturday 25th Jan:
- St George’s Centre, Netherfield - Gedling Borough Council and Gedling Play Forum will host a Chinese-inspired arts and crafts event, which will include a traditional lion dance and cookery demonstrations.
Sunday 26th Jan:
- De Montfort University - The Leicester university will host a procession that will start on its main campus site and end in New Market Square.
- New Market Square, Leicester - Following the procession, there will be an evening of mapped animations, lion dances and a stunning fireworks display.
- Nottingham Lakeside Arts - There will be a drop-in event at the Performing Arts Centre featuring arts and crafts including traditional Chinese knots, calligraphy and paper cutting.
Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd Feb:
- Highcross Shopping Centre, Leicester - Visitors will be able to watch live Chinese acrobatic dances, design their own dragon masks and join in on the traditional dragon parade.