Whether you stayed in and watched Jools Holland’s Hootenanny, went to a friend’s house for food and wine, or were out clubbing until the early hours of the morning. Brummies had a blast all over the city this New Year’s Eve. But are you ready to celebrate all over again when the Lunar New Year comes around this February?
What is Lunar New Year?
Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, is a major holiday in China. But places like South Korea, Vietnam and other East Asian countries also heavily celebrate the event. The celebrations mark the beginning of the lunar calendar, which follows the moon cycles, the traditional Chinese calendar. The first day of the Lunar New Year begins with the first new moon of this calendar.
Each year in the lunar calendar is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. This year, 2024, is the Year of the Dragon and takes place on February 10. Traditionally, it is a time to honour deities and ancestors, feast, and visit family. Celebrations often contain fireworks, food, lanterns and the colour red.
When and where are the Lunar New Year celebrations in Birmingham?
After the success of Birmingham’s popular Lunar New Year last year, celebrations will again take place in and around Birmingham Hippodrome in 2024. Between 12noon and 6pm, a whole day’s worth of activities is planned for Sunday, February 11 to ring in The Year of the Dragon.
James Wong, Chair of the Birmingham Chinese Festival Committee said: “Everyone’s favourites are on the bill for Lunar New Year 2024 from the traditional waking of the Lion ‘Dim Jing’ to Dragon dances representing power, strength and good luck for the New Year to Pom Pom – our giant 10-foot panda – out and about welcoming festival goers throughout the day, we look forward to seeing all your selfies!”
What events are happening at Birmingham Hippodrome?
The UberEats Festival stage in Hippodrome Square will be jam-packed all afternoon with performers – from the traditional waking of the Lion ‘Dim Jing’ to K-pop singers, Chinese dancers, choirs drummers and more. Make sure to check out the craft market on Inge Street and Hurst Street (also open February 10) to buy homemade, traditional items and tuck into Chinese cuisine street food. Family-friendly fairground rides are also located around the site.
Inside the Hippodrome’s foyers, throughout the day free family activities and face-painting will also be available. Decorate dragon puppets, try your hand at calligraphy, or write your own Lunar New Year wish on a Dragon scale. Elsewhere inside, catch performances from New Earth Theatre in the Patrick Studio; take part in a K-pop or traditional Chinese fan dance workshop; and grab a selfie with Pom Pom, the giant ten-foot panda.
Kin Bong Lam, Chair of the Birmingham Chinatown Business Association said: “It’s a packed programme with something for all communities, our Lunar New Year 2024 celebrations will really put Southside on the map. Join us all afternoon as we welcome in the Year of the Dragon and stay for the firework finale as we look ahead to a year of creativity, energy, fierceness, and kindness.”
When are the fireworks?
What celebrations are complete without fireworks? In Chinese culture, fireworks drive away bad spirits and monsters who are afraid of loud sounds and the colour red. A huge fireworks finale will close the day of festivities with a colourful display from 5.45 pm at Hippodrome Square. To see the full Lunar New Year programme in Birmingham head here.
People born in the Year of the Dragon are said to be charismatic, determined, ambitious and sincere. So if you’re turning 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84 or 96 this year (and even if you’re not) make sure to ring in the Year of the Dragon for Lunar New Year in Birmingham this February.