Did you know in China, the start of the new year happens later than in Western traditions on 31st December? Chinese New Year is celebrated between January 21 and February 20 each year, with 2023 New Year celebrations taking place on 22nd January. One of the most exciting things to do in Newcastle is celebrating this colourful festival with our neighbours in Chinatown on Stowell Street, a stone’s throw from our serviced apartments in Newcastle. If you’re planning a visit with your family or friends for Chinese New Year, we can provide flexible, spacious accommodation in Newcastle for groups. We’re looking forward to enjoying the celebrations with our Chinese neighbours this year.
Chinese New Year
While western calendars focus on the movement and seasons of the sun, Chinese New Year is celebrated at the start of the Lunar cycle. The new year festival is usually called the Spring Festival in mainland China and is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia. The first day of Chinese new year begins on the new moon that appears on a date between 21st January and 20th February every year. In 2023, the festival starts on 22nd January and lasts around 15 days, until 5th February with celebrations across the country. The New Year is a chance to welcome newness and goodness, banishing old, bad feelings. It’s a time when families traditionally worship ancestors and exorcise evil spirits from the home. It is celebrated across the world by Chinese communities living outside of their homeland.
Chinese New Year Traditions
During the celebrations, if you have Chinese friends or family, you can expect gifts which might include red envelopes. These envelopes, called Hongbao, are filled with suitable amounts of money – usually new bills – and gifted to loved ones and colleagues. You should not wear white or black to new year celebrations as they are traditionally associated with mourning. Wearing red is more appropriate. Usually, families gather for a feast at home or in a restaurant, decorate their homes with traditional décor and enjoy fireworks and red dragon displays. There are lots of dos and don’ts that would not be as common in western celebrations that you should familiarise yourself with if you’re celebrating traditionally.
The Year of the Rabbit
According to Legend, the Jade Emperor decided on a way to measure time. He set up a race between animals with twelve winners being rewarded by having a year named after them. Each year, a different animal is hailed as ‘lucky’ and those born in the year will have luck on its anniversary. In 2023, the luckiest zodiac sign is the Rabbit with Oxes, Tigers, and Snakes also feeling the good vibes. Less lucky this year are those born in the year of the Dog, Horse, Goat and Pig. In Chinese culture, the rabbit is known to be the luckiest of all twelve zodiac animals. It represents mercy, elegance and beauty and those born within the year are said to be calm and peaceful with artistic qualities.
Celebrate Chinese New Year in Newcastle
Newcastle’s Chinatown is one of only 5 Chinese districts in the UK and they take their new year celebrations very seriously! Newcastle has a very large multicultural population and the Chinatown here is much more than just restaurants. It’s a cultural hub for Chinese people to celebrate and develop their heritage in the UK and is open for all to enjoy. 35,000 Chinese residents live in Newcastle and its surrounding areas, many of whom will flock to the Stowell Street area to celebrate the beginning of the year with food, drinks, culture and tradition. Under the beautiful Chinese arch, you can enjoy a parade including the magnificent dragon dance, before enjoying a feast in one of the many Chinese restaurants dotted along the street. It’s truly one of the best things to do in Newcastle every year. Book a stay in our serviced apartments in Newcastle and enjoy the Chinese new year celebrations in style, a short walk from Chinatown. Book directly on our website to enjoy our lowest available rates and special offers. We wish all of our Chinese guests a happy, peaceful and prosperous start to 2023