Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year in the North East

The Chinese New Year is one of the world's most celebrated and popular festivals in the world. Also known as the Spring or Lunar Festival celebrations traditionally run from the evening proceeding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. 

The first day of the New Year falls on the new moon between 21 January and 20 February meaning that this year the Year of the Pig will start on Tuesday, 5 February 2019 and there are plenty of celebrations in Durham, Darlington, Sunderland and Newcastle for families to join in - and all free.

2019 - the Year of the Pig

"Pigs have a beautiful personality and are blessed with good fortune in life."

Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just like its western counterpart, but with the major difference being that each house has a time-length of one year instead of one month.

The Chinese New Year 2019 officially begins on February 5 with celebrations continuing until 19 February, and begins a year of the Pig, the twelfth of the zodiac animals.

The Pig’s defining characteristics are good fortune and beautiful personalities. They are gentle, caring, and optimistic, thus having harmonious interpersonal relationships.

Traditions differ, but the main message of the Chinese New Year is for families to come together and wish each other peace and prosperity for the year ahead. Chinese New Year is a time of happiness and good fortune and it's important to spread goodwill.

Where to Celebrate 2019 Chinese New Year in the North East

Sunderland - Saturday 2 February  - 11am - 3pm

Celebrate the Year of the Pig with Chinese arts & crafts, lion dances, family trails and selling stalls at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens. Lion dances take place at 11.15am and 1pm, starting from the Winter Gardens (Beside Holmeside Café).

Darlington Tuesday 5 February - from 1pm

Celebrations will herald the start of the Chinese New Year with lions, fortune cookies and Chinese songs in the town centre, and will include colourful costumes and dancing in Joseph Pease Place, just off High Row, from 1pm.

A traditional lion dance crew will be performing, with a gymnastic lion dance team, spectacular costumes, and a full group of musicians, and visitors will receive fortune cookies.

Durham – Saturday 9 February – 10.30am – 4pm

Chinese New Year Events in Durham City in Durham Town Hall, Clayport Library and various locations throughout the city including  Lion dance performances where the mayor will be catching the lettuce and there will also be children demonstrations. 

Newcastle Sunday 10 February 11am – 4pm

In Newcastle Chinese New Year celebrations will begin with the lion dance, from Old Eldon Square green at approx..11.15am, before parading to the Chinese Arch in Stowell Stree, arriving for around 12 noon.

From noon, there will be speeches from the Chinese community and city council representatives. The North East Chinese Association will present an exhibition of arts & crafts and food in Stowell Street between midday and 4pm. There will also be a Chinese Market and fairground in Bath Lane, with arts & crafts and Chinese food from 11am to 4pm.

Chinese New Year

The new years follow the Chinese lunar calendar, which means that Chinese New Year falls on different days each year and coincides with the new moon in January or February. It continues for 15 days and is all about regeneration and new life. The Chinese New Year has been associated with the Chinese Zodiac since the Spring-Autumn Period (771 to 476 BC).

The Chinese Zodiac runs on a cycle of 12 years, with each year named after an animal. The 12 animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. People are said to hold similar personality traits to the animal named after the year they were born.

2019 will be the Chinese Year of the Pig, following on from 2018’s year of the dog, 2017's year of the Rooster, 2016’s year of the Monkey, 2015’s year of the Sheep, 2014’s year of the Horse and 2013’s year of the Snake.

I was born in the year of the pig – the sign of the Chinese Zodiac that has the characteristics of being honourable, philanthropic, determined, optimistic, sincere and sociable. 

There are many Chinese traditions associated with the New Year. Celebrations include decorations, parades, folk traditions, and a wonderful feast. We’ll be heading to Durham and Newcastle to join in the celebrations in Newcastle this weekend before enjoying a Chinese family banquet at home and ‘Peking’ Jackfruit Hoisin Pancakes

What Chinese Zodiac year were you born in?

Kung hey Fat Choi! Happy Chinese New Year!

Deb x

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