Chinese New Year is a festival that celebrates what was the traditional New Year in China marked at the turn of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. Celebrations take the shape of large firework displays, the burning of firecrackers, decorating homes and even entire cities in different tapestries predominantly in red to symbolise happiness and good fortune.
The arrival of the New Year is an extremely symbolic event in the country and each year has a special significance in Chinese culture stemming from the animal zodiac tradition. In short, each individual year is assigned animal zodiac symbols which carry different characteristics. The zodiac pattern is a sequential list of 12 animals as follows: Rat, Ox, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig, repeating at the end of every 12 year cycle. The character traits that each animal carries is said to have a profound effect on the personalities of those who are born that year. For example, 2018 is the year of the dog symbolising fidelity, loyalty and courage as well as being social amongst their peers. For an idea of how the year can influence personality traits visit: https://chinesenewyear2018.com/zodiac/dog/.
Chinese New Year celebrations take place the world over with numerous events and festivals observing Chinese culture. The Scottish capital endeavours every year to lead the celebrations in Scotland with copious things to see and do on the most significant advent in the Chinese calendar.
Edinburgh Zoo for example, is currently home to over 400 giant Chinese lanterns taking the shape of the zoo’s inhabitants illuminating the surroundings in a delightful paroxysm of colour. After winding your way through the irradiant safari Chinese performers will have you glued to your seats with a similarly dazzling show.
If this doesn’t take your fancy then perhaps the Chinese New Year Spectacular hosted by Edinburgh’s Usher Hall will do the trick. Showcasing both contemporary and classical Chinese music using traditional musical instruments and dance this concert epitomises the performing arts in China. Perhaps to emphasise the assimilation of Chinese and western culture, the concert adapts popular western musicals with a Chinese twist that is refreshingly original.
Now, the New Year cannot be properly celebrated without some Chinese cuisine to get you in the spirit so before the shows be sure to make your way towards the Three Sisters bar in Cowgate for their Chinese Street Food Festival. To celebrate the year of the god, Three Sisters will supply some delicious Eastern delicacies (don’t worry, dog isn’t on the menu) in a bustling atmosphere animated by the odd traditional dragon dance weaving through the crowd.