this is china’s most important traditional festival, and in recognition of my husband’s heritage and our mixed-race family, we love to celebrate it at home.
traditionally, a few days before chinese new year, the whole house is cleaned from top to toe to get rid of the old and welcome in the new year. then the house is decorated in red and gold with lanterns and paper cuts. when our children were small they used to wear their best chinese outfits and we would spend an afternoon cutting our own decorations and colouring chinese letters to hang in the house. my husband goes to the flower market to buy mimosa, which is in season now and smells sublime. we hang red decorations from the branches and its fluffy yellow heads are a gorgeous natural substitute for gold.
2017 is the year of the rooster. roosters are healthy active people who enjoy sport. they are observant, hardworking, brave and talented. our boy is a rooster and will enjoy being centre of attention for the weekend. we’ll be celebrating with a chinese meal at home, fortune cookies, loud fireworks to scare away the evil spirits, and ‘lucky money’. these are little packets of money in pairs of red envelopes usually given by married adults to children to wish them good health and a good year ahead.
there are lots of chinese events in london and other cities, including lion parades, which are fun for all the family. these are some activities for children which have caught our eye:
dance performances, mask making and calligraphy workshops at the v&a museum of childhood, bethnal green, london:
make paper cut decorations, a zodiac mobile, listen to chinese fairytales and join in a dragon dance at the museum in docklands, london:
happy year of the rooster!