How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in the North East

UPDATE: This is 2017 for the 2018 Chinese New Year Post please click here ...

This year, Chinese New Year - The Year of the Rooster - begins on Saturday, January 28 and lasts until February 15th, 2018. There are lots of great ways to celebrate in North East England with events taking place in Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham city centres plus an amazing array of Chinese restaurants across the region in which to celebrate, and a growing number of Chinese supermarkets if you’d like to try your hand at cooking your own Chinese celebratory meal.

The best places to celebrate Chinese New Year - the year of the Rooster 2017 - in North East England

The countdown to Chinese New Year is officially on, with celebrations taking place across the country at the end of this week. Nearly 200,000 Chinese people live in the UK – and hundreds of thousands of people, of all nationalities, will welcome the Year of the Rooster with them.

Chinese New Year is a traditional Chinese holiday celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival. 

So what’s happening in North East England?

There are FREE events happening in Sunderland and Durham on Saturday 28 January, and in Newcastle city centre on Sunday 29 January.

Sunderland – Saturday 28 January

The best places to celebrate Chinese New Year - the year of the Rooster 2017 - in North East England

Sunderland Museum & Wintergardens - 11 am – 3 pm 
Help celebrate the Year of the Rooster with traditional lion dances and Chinese crafts. Lion dances start at 11 am and 1 pm from the museum entrance.

Durham City Centre – Saturday 28 January

Various locations across city centre - From 12 noon
To drive away bad luck and bring a fresh start, the traditional Chinese Lion will dance its way through the city centre, scattering lucky lettuce leaves. The dance of the Chinese lion is a tradition in Durham City Centre each Chinese New Year. The lion will perform an energetic routine before eating the lucky lettuce, chewing it and spitting it out to a chosen recipient. 

Follow the Chinese lion from the Market Place, around the Prince Bishops Shopping Centre to Elvet Bridge, Framwellgate Bridge and finishing at Walkergate.
  • Start: 12.00 noon - Martial Arts Warm up in the Market Place
  • 12.30pm - Lion dance begins in Market Place with Mayor catching the "lucky lettuce"
  • 1.10pm - Prince Bishops Shopping Centre
  • 1.35pm - Elvet Bridge
  • 2.00pm - Framwelgate Bridge
  • Finish: at 2.30pm - Walkergate

Additional events:

  • Drop-in Chinese New Year themed Arts and Crafts sessions will also be held in Clayport Library in Millennium Place from 10 am to 4 pm. There will be a charge of £1 per child.
  • Plus at the ORIENTAL MUSEUM - 1 pm - 3 pm you can celebrate the start of the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese zodiac with rooster-themed crafts and activities. This is drop-in activity which is included in the Museum admission price and is aimed at children aged 5 to 11.

Newcastle upon Tyne – Sunday 29 January

China Town - 11 am to 4 pm

In the heart of China Town, both Stowell Street and Bath Lane will come alive with a vibrant and colourful party complete with dragon and lion dances, firecrackers, children’s activities, performances and stalls to celebrate the Year of the Rooster.
  • 11 am to 4 pm – Chinese Market, Mini Fairground at Bath Lane and Thornton Square
  • 11 am to 4 pm – Children’s Marquee at Thornton Square
  • 12 noon – Lion, Dragon and Unicorn dance at the Chinese Arch
  • 12.30pm – Chinese Cultural activities at North East Chinese Association on Stowell Street
  • 3.30pm – Distribution of 300 Lucky Money to Children – first come first served basis

The best places to celebrate Chinese New Year - the year of the Rooster 2017 - in North East England

The Year of the Rooster

Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. This year it's the Year of the Rooster, the tenth animal in the cycle. The next Year of the Rooster will be in 2029.

Hubby is a Rooster. Like other people born in the Year of the Rooster, his Chinese zodiac sign characterises him as honest, energetic, intelligent, flexible, hardworking and resourceful. But can also be a little sensitive, stressed and moody. Me, I'm a Pig which has Chinese Zodiac characteristics of being honourable, philanthropic, determined, optimistic, sincere and sociable. 

The best places to celebrate Chinese New Year - the year of the Rooster 2017 - in North East England

Tips on How to Celebrate

There are many Chinese traditions associated with the New Year that you can read about on the internet. Here are some things you should and shouldn’t do at this time of year.

Things NOT to do on Chinese New Year's Day 

1. Have porridge for breakfast
2. The laundry
3. Wash hair
4. Clean the house
5. Upset children

Things TO DO before Chinese New Year
1. Clean the house
2. Get a haircut
3. Shop for new things and gifts
4. Wear red for luck and to ward off evil spirits
5. Prepare a feast and stay up until midnight

We’ll be heading into Newcastle to join in the celebrations in Newcastle this weekend before recreating (or trying to) the Peking Jackfruit Hoisin Pancakes we recently ate at The Bohemian restaurant in Newcastle. 

How are you celebrating?

Kung hey Fat Choi! Happy Chinese New Year!

Deb x