Where To Celebrate Lunar New Year In The UK
The UK holds the biggest Lunar New Year celebrations outside Asia. So if you’re celebrating in the UK in 2023, there are lots of ways to ring in the new year this January. From parades to food to LNY traditions, here are some of the best ways to celebrate Lunar New Year in the UK.
5 best cities for Lunar New Year celebrations in the UK
Lunar New Year takes place on 22nd January 2023. Here’s where you can find some of the biggest and best festivities in the UK.
London’s Chinatown is the heart of the UK’s Lunar New Year celebrations. A parade is held every year, starting on Charing Cross Road and heading down Shaftesbury Avenue to Chinatown. There are also performances, games, activities, and food stalls in Trafalgar Square. Here’s a taste of what you can expect:
The parade usually starts at 11am and finishes around 4.30pm. Arrive early to get a good viewing spot!
There are also smaller celebrations elsewhere in the capital if you don’t fancy venturing into the West End. A parade is planned in Twickenham on Lunar New Year’s Eve.
Within the UK, Manchester is home to the largest Chinese population outside London, and the largest Southeast Asian population in the North West. So expect to find some pretty big celebrations taking place here, too.
Manchester’s legendary Dragon Parade starts at Piccadilly and makes its way to Chinatown throughout the day, with crowds lining the streets to watch and follow the parade. Expect traditional dancing, operatic performers, and — what else? — a 175ft dragon.
Manchester’s Chinatown has dozens of restaurants featuring all kinds of Asian cuisine, so make time to stop in for lunch or dinner. Bear in mind that some restaurants close for the holiday, or are otherwise very busy — so book in advance to make sure you can get a table.
Liverpool claims to be home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe, so the Lunar New Year festivities here are a well-ingrained part of the calendar. In 2021, Liverpool FC released a video of support and celebration for the Lunar New Year:
In-person celebrations have been paused for the last couple of years, but in 2023 they’ll be back — and just as good as ever. Head to Chinatown to see the buildings lit up in red and watch performances on the stage in Great George Square, while the parade winds its way through the streets. Don’t miss the spectacular fire show that closes the day’s festivities.
Scotland is famous for its Hogmanay celebrations. But it’s also a great place to celebrate Lunar New Year. Like the other cities on this list, Edinburgh puts on a parade, along with dancing, music, food, and activities to ring in the new year.
Head to the Mound precinct on Princes Street to join the celebrations in 2023.
If you’ll be in or around the Midlands this Lunar New Year, head to Birmingham’s main shopping centre, the Bullring & Grand Central, for a Spring Festival extravaganza. The city is planning a full two-day schedule of celebrations, starting on Lunar New Year’s Eve and ending in the evening on New Year’s Day.
Full details are yet to be announced, but previous years’ festivities show what you might expect:
Lunar New Year traditions
For many east Asian families living in the UK, the Lunar New Year festivities start before the day itself. On New Year’s Eve — 21st January in 2023 — friends and families get together to share food after long journeys to be together. Children receive lucky red envelopes filled with coins or money. These were traditionally said to help them stay awake all night on New Year’s Eve, keeping demons at bay.
Red is an important colour on Lunar New Year. That’s why you’ll see so many red lights and lanterns lit up around the cities at this time. According to tradition, wearing red clothes and/or buying something red for your home will bring luck and prosperity in the coming year.
You might also decide to set goals for the year ahead. These New Year money saving tips will help anyone looking to better manage their money in the new year.
How to celebrate Lunar New Year as a student
If you’re an Asian student studying in the UK, it may feel difficult to be away from home at this time of year. Fortunately, most UK universities put on celebrations to make you feel a little more at home:
- The University of Leicester holds a small parade on campus, while giving out free fortune cookies
- The Confucius Institute at Liverpool University holds art and calligraphy workshops
- The University of Leeds shares messages of support and celebration from other students, staff and alumni to create a community
- York University holds a gala, organised by the York Chinese Students and Scholars Association.
Find your community in the UK
It’s not always easy to adjust to a new country and maintain the traditions you know and love. At Bloom, we aim to help newcomers to Britain settle into UK life by finding support and community around them — especially when it comes to managing your money.