Welcome Year of the Pig! After working this Christmas in Leicester Square, I have had the pleasure of walking through Chinatown in the West End every morning and have uncovered a newfound appreciation for the culture as well as the delicious cuisine (my poor student loan didn’t know what was going to hit it before I discovered my obsession with dim sum).
2019 is due to draw on the superstitions of crying children and sweeping the floor, but the Pig within the Chinese calendar is symbolic of wealth and prosperity, so we are all in for coming into some kind of wealth but consciously suffering from dirty floors. It will be officially celebrated on the 5th of February, with the 7th and 8th being known as the Day of the Rat as many flock to graves to pay respect to those passed, before the 11th demands the devouring of noodles to ensure the longevity of life and fish for affluence - in light of this, I plan to enjoy a shrimp pad thai every evening for the foreseeable future. On the 19th, the Lantern Festival commences, and is responsible for some of the most beautiful sky and light displays.
London’s Chinatown will celebrate on the 10th, starting with a colourful parade leading to Trafalgar Square, where prolific edible treats will be on offer, and then the celebration will take to the stages in London’s performative centre for short plays and creative workshops. At 11:30 am in our very own Newcastle, Eldon Square will host the traditional dragon and line dance before firecrackers will be sounded, various dancing will continue, and the temporary fun fair will be open to encourage people to try traditional Chinese art and crafts and taste some regional dishes. Don’t forget to wear something red, and try and reach the highest vantage point you can as it is believed the higher you are when you bring in the new year, the better a year you will have.