Chinese new year tiger

The Second Chinese New Year in Lockdown

This year the Chinese Lunar New Year is on 1 February, but with COVID still causing havoc, billions of people are forced to think of creative new solutions in order to celebrate the New Year.

Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, is the new year according to the lunar calendar and is celebrated by countries such as China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korean and Chinese diaspora in every country of the world.

Over three billion trips are made a year to visit family and friends, but due to COVID, many of these trips now prove impossible. Traditionally, people would return home to spend time with their loved ones, much like how Christmas is celebrated in the Christian tradition. Due to the vast number of people who celebrate and travel for Chinese New Year, it has been coined the ‘world’s largest human migration’.

The origins of Chinese New Year are based on myth and legend. The story goes as such: Thousands of years ago a monster named Nian would attack villagers on the first day of each year. In order to deter the dragon from causing terror in the local communities, villagers used loud noises, bright lights, and the colour red to chase away the monster. As a result, they are now symbolically used to decorate houses during the celebratory period.

Zodiac animals are an inherent part of the tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year. There are 12 animals in total and this year, it will be the year of the tiger! In Chinese folklore, tigers symbolise bravery and courage, as well as beauty and majesty.

This year, although celebrations have had to be cut back, the annual parades and processions will still be happening this year in many places across the world.  However, in London, live performances will not be taking place as they usually do. Luckily, there will still be a lion dance and night market in Chinatown. The performances will be pre-recorded and broadcasted at Newport Place.

Despite there not being the spectacular show there usually is, there are still many ways to celebrate the festival at home! Activities you can do to join in the spirit include making noodles, wearing the colour red and most importantly, spending time with family and friends!

Evelyn (MIV)