It’s nearly time to wish your Chinese friends ‘gong hei fat choy!' (that’s the Cantonese version, anyway) as the Year of the Dragon is almost upon us.
Newcastle's Chinese New Year celebrations are a much-loved fixture on the city's cultural calendar and we’ve got all the info you need to make the most of Chinese New Year and take part in all the fun.
What is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year is a festival that marks the start of the lunar new year - that is, the first new moon of the lunar calendar observed in China and other Asian countries. Also known as the Spring Festival, it's one of the biggest holidays celebrated by the Chinese community and Newcastle's Chinese New Year celebrations are always epic.
When is it?
Chinese New Year 2024 - aka the Year of the Dragon - begins on Saturday 10th February with Newcastle's official celebrations taking place the following day on Sunday 11th February.
Where are Newcastle's Chinese New Year celebrations taking place?
The festivities kick off at Grey's Monument at 11:30am on Sunday 11th February where a traditional Chinese New Year parade will make its way along Blackett Street and Gallowgate and towards the Chinese Arch on Stowell Street in Newcastle's Chinatown - one of only five officially designated Chinatowns in the UK - where there's even more fun to be had.
What will be happening?
Newcastle's Chinese New Year is a feast for the senses - a heady blend of colourful costumes, dances, food and music. The parade is a riot of colour and sound featuring stunning puppets, traditional lion and dragon dances and drummers and the festivities continue in Chinatown where there are all sorts of ways to get involved in and celebrate Chinese culture - from stalls and restaurants selling authentic Chinese food to music, arts and crafts activities like Chinese calligraphy and fairground rides. Check out the parade route map here and a schedule below for timings.
10:20am: Lion and dragon demo outside Fujiyama restaurant on Bath Lane
10:50am - midday: Thai chi performances and Chinese music and dancing at the Chinese Arch on Stowell Street
11am - 11:30am: Demonstrations at Grey's Monument from parade participants
11:30am: Parade leaves Grey's Monument arriving at the Chinese Arch at approximately midday
Can I bring kids?
Absolutely – the whole thing has a strong family focus and there will be lots for children to see and do.
Is it free?
All the performances and activities are free, although obviously you’ll need money for the various stalls.
Will the restaurants in Chinatown be open?
Chinatown's restaurants will indeed be open and some will be doing specials, so check with your favourite to find out what they're planning. There'll also be a 'Food Corner' in place in Chinatown at the bottom of Bath Lane where some excellent local food vendors including Chilli Padi, Craving Asian, Fat Panda Bing, Manhua Cha and Dumpling and Bun will be dishing out delicious food.
The celebrations around Chinese New Year are some of the most vibrant and colourful celebrations that take place in Newcastle. It's a fun day out for all the family too, so make sure you swing into the city on Sunday 11th February to witness the festivities in all their glory!