Chinese New Year Activities & Things To Do

Chinese new year 2023

Now another year is here, do you know what that means? Chinese New Year! An auspicious time for the Chinese community and for those who celebrate the Lunar Near Year or Spring Festival! Did you know it’s the Year of the Rabbit in 2023? This Chinese zodiac represents hope and long life, a great symbol to start the new year. If you’d like to join in with the celebrations, here are some Chinese New Year Activities 2023 that you can get involved in!

Whether it’s at home or at city events!

Chinese New Year 2023

When is the Chinese New Year in 2023?

The celebration is normally towards the start of the year. In 2023 it starts on Sunday 22nd January! Did you know celebrations last for 15 days?!

Preparations for the 15-day festival will start on January 14th and the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) will officially begin on the 22nd January until the 1st February. But then, preparations for the Lantern Festival will commence on the 2nd February for the big day on the 5th!

Millions of people celebrate this occasion, meaning lots of family fun and quality time!

the year of the rabbit

What is the 2023 Chinese Zodiac Animal?

In 2023, according to the Chinese calendar, the animal of the year is the Rabbit! The Rabbit symbolises hope, longevity, wittiness and self-protection (to name a few!). It’s the 4th zodiac animal!
a dragon dance for chinese new year

How is Chinese New Year celebrated?

In China, the New Year celebrations are on a much larger scale! From lucky food, colourful fireworks, a dragon dance, special performances, red clothing, lighting lanterns and honouring your family, all throughout the traditional holidays.

In the UK, the Chinese New Year is celebrated with colourful parades, food events and creative workshops. And it’s not just the Chinese communities that get involved, but all communities too!

Here’s what we’ve got for you…

Celebrate At Home

chinese dumplings

Cook Authentic Chinese Food

Everyone loves food. No one can resist Chinese food… Especially dumplings.

Did you know there are two types of dumplings that are important during the celebration event? They are the Jau gok (half-moon dumplings) and Tang yuan (ball-shaped).

Why are these important, you may ask? Well, that’s because the half-moon is similar to the ancient Chinese gold ingots that were used as currency over 1,000 years ago. And the ball-shaped represents the full moon which rides on the last day of these brightest celebrations!

You can either make them at home or buy them from the supermarket and add it to your Chinese dinner! Other traditional foods are Peking duck, fried rice, chow mein and of course crispy spring rolls! Oh so yummy!

Here’s a really helpful site for how to make dumplings with kids!

DIY chinese lanterns

Get Creative

Many people love to get crafty with their hands when it comes to the annual celebrations! These tend to be traditional. Whether that involves making Chinese lanterns, writing red envelopes to their friends and family or adding a bit of colour to your home by decorating with the colour red! Craft activities are a great way to keep your kids busy and entertained – if you’re having a party add this to the activity tables you’ll have for the kids.

If you’re interested in making Chinese paper lanterns, we have a simple and easy step-by-step guide for you:

You’ll need:

  • Coloured paper: red, yellow or orange
  • Pencil, rubber and ruler
  • Scissors and sellotape
  • String, ribbons or twine (to hand the lantern)
  1. Grab your coloured paper and measure 2cm from one edge (widthways). Once you’ve measured that, cut the width of the 2cm off. Then fold your paper lengthwise (this will make the handle to your lantern).
  2. Using a ruler and pencil, draw a 2cm line from the top to the bottom of the paper. Then trace lines perpendicular to the folded side and up to the line you drew previously. The lines should be spaced 1cm apart from each other.
  3. Then (with an adult’s supervision) cut through these lines (up until the horizontal line on the folded edge. These will form the bars in the middle of your lantern.
  4. Unfold the paper and loop both edges together, then seal both ends with tape.
  5. Using the small strip of paper you cut earlier, tape it to the lantern to make your handle.
  6. Once that’s done,  you can decorate and create whole displays of lanterns! Now your beautiful lantern can adorn your household.

Here’s a temple and instructions from Chalk Academy you can use.

a picture of a chinese temple to colour in

Colourful Activities

Want to keep your kids busy for an hour while you prepare for the celebrations? How about colourful activities?! It’s a brilliant and fun way to entertain your kids and help them have fun this New Year.

From colouring in a Dragon parade, and Rabbits to Chinese lanterns and Chinese lions! Grab the crayons, gel pens, felt tips or even paint.

We’ve found some really cool colouring pages here.

a couple decorating their house for chinese new year

Decorate Your Home

Have fun turning your house into a place full of light and prosperity! Using the colour red, adorn your house with decorations like lanterns, Chinese dragon creating, red balloons, floral arrangements and more red festive decorations.

Why red? Because the red colour is a lucky colour in Chinese culture!

red envelopes for new year

Send Red Envelopes

Chinese people believe sending red envelopes to your friends and family is a sign of good fortune for the year. As well as happy blessings! These red envelopes tend to hold money inside of them. But you can send thoughtful and loving messages or even sweet treats!

You can purchase these red envelopes from any Asian supermarket near you or send them digitally! Either create them yourself or you can find a variety of red envelopes online, like on Etsy!

red chinese lanterns lit up

Make Chinese Lantern Jars

This is easy peasy and super simple for the little ones! If you have small or baby jars in the house, then let’s put them into use! Plus, it’s a fun activity for them to get involved in during the celebrations.

You’ll need:

  • Small jars or baby jars
  • Lots of red tissue paper
  • Glitter glue pens
  • Small LED fairy lights
  1. Make sure the jars are clean and empty!
  2. Cut the red tissue paper into small squares
  3. Using the glitter glue pens, they can draw what they like on the jars, or turn up the notch and have them try drawing the Chinese characters of the Rabbit to represent the year. It might be tricky, but we’re sure with the guidance of the parents, they can do it. If not, maybe draw bunny ears!
  4. Once that’s dry, fill the jars using the red tissue paper.
  5. Then add the small LED fairy lights into the jar – and there you have your beautiful lantern display. All ready for the colourful celebrations.
two kids learning how to speak and write in mandarin

Learn How To Say 'Happy New Year' in either Mandarin or Cantonese

Did you know that the official language of China is Mandarin? However, most overseas Chinese communities speak Cantonese! So, how do you wish them a happy new year? Whether you’re a part of the Chinese community or not, it’s a fab idea to get involved and wish everyone a happy near year! Here’s how you say it in both Mandarin and Cantonese:

Mandarin: ‘Gong xi fa cai’

Cantonese: Gung hay fat choy’

Learn more about the Lunar New Year traditions from National Geographic!

Find out more

Family-friendly Events

This year the Chinese New Year falls on Sunday 22nd January 2023 and lasts for 15 days. How can you celebrate this lucky celebration? We’ve found some of the coolest events for you and the family to attend.

chinese arts and crafts

Liverpool Chinese New Year, Chinese Ceremonial Archway

Did you know that the Chinese Ceremonial Archway in Liverpool is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe?! That makes the celebrations extra special and momentous.

This year, they’re welcoming everybody back again to get involved in all things light, bright and exciting. With streets adorned with Chinese lanterns, the air filled with the sounds of the dragon and unicorn parades – sharing their good luck and fortune – and traditional dances showcasing before you.

Don’t forget the noisy fireworks to ward off any bad luck! Not only that, but you’ll find delicious food at the street markets, Chinese art workshops and family-friendly activities and storytelling! The kids will have a fantastic time, and so will you.

Before ending with a stunning fire show!

Shape Location Get directions

Nelson St,
Liverpool,
L1 5DN

Opening Times

22nd January 2023
11:00 - 17:00

Pricing

Free to enter

Find out more
chinese parade in london

Chinese New Year, London

Come along to the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia. Thousands of people descend into central London and to China Town to celebrate the new year. With colourful parades, live performances, scrumptious displays of food to gobble and a buzzing atmosphere.

It’s truly the place to be! From the West End and Shaftesbury Avenue to Trafalgar Square. It’ll be a foodie galore and full of vibrancy from colourful floats, and traditional dragon and flying lion dances to martial art displays and live music of popular Chinese music! Not forgetting the noisy activity with firecrackers.

It’s a day and night to truly immerse yourself in the celebrations and welcome the Year of the Rabbit.

Shape Location Get directions

Chinatown
London
WC2H 0BL

Opening Times

22nd January 2023

Pricing

Free to enter

Find out more
chinese dragon dances in birmingham

Lunar New Year 2023, Birmingham

The bustling city centre is about to get even more exciting. With the Chinese New Year celebrations about to embark on brumtown, it’s a definite must-see.

You’ll be treated to a weekend programme packed with family-friendly shows and festivities. In the Bullring and Grand Central Station on the 21st January, you’ll find lion and dragon dances, traditional Chinese dances and musical performances, Tai Chi and Kungfu demonstrations, and family workshops! If you’re feeling peckish, you’ll find China Town not too far away…so fill your tummies with dumplings and all things yummy.

On the 22nd January you’ll find the same fun-filled activities as Saturday, and community and school performances. As well as firecrackers and fantastic fireworks, fab craft stores and of course…food.

We can’t wait!

Shape Location Get directions

Moor St,
Birmingham,
B5 4BU

Opening Times

21st and 22nd January 2023

Pricing

Free to enter

Find out more

If you’re excited to join in with the celebrations, then we hope you’ve found these fab Chinese New Year activities inspirational! Whether you have a go at making dumplings, enjoy making some craft decorations or go visit the family at a fabulous event!

Let’s celebrate the Year of the Rabbit!

Looking for more things to do this Chinese New Year? Why not book a table at a Chinese restaurant, learn more about the zodiac signs or find more things to do in January!

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