Museum of London Docklands celebrates the Year of the Dog
I have a friend, Mr L, who works at the Museum of London so I have visited there many times. I am always impressed with the quality of the Exhibitions as well as the sheer variety of events and shows they host. The Museum of London Docklands is celebrating the Chinese New Year by holding free cultural events for the whole family during February.
The Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, starts in February this year. Unlike our Western calendar when New Year's Day is always on the 1st of January, the first day of the Chinese or Lunar New Year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February because of its cyclical nature based on the waxing and waning of the moon.
This year the start of Chinese New Year falls on Friday 16th of February 2018. The year is called The Year of the Dog. If you were born in 1932, 1946,1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, or 2006 (add or subtract 12 years for the zodiac cycle) you were born under the sign of the dog. So like man's best friend, you are likely to have canine traits such as being friendly and loyal to your friends and family. The Lunar New Year dates from about 2600 BC, when the Chinese zodiac was introduced.
As an homage to East London's long-running historic links with the Chinese community, the Docklands campus of the Museum of London is playing host to special free Chinese celebrations. All day on Friday 16th of February, which is the first day of the Lunar New Year calendar, the activities will include dancing, martial arts, stories, calligraphy and many other Chinese themed activities for you and the kids to try.
Chinese New Year with children (image from Musuem's website)
Highlights for the day include: Martial arts: Learn about Taekwondo, Tai Chi and Kung Fu from the Masters, and then try them out for yourself in these taster sessions. Calligraphy: Try the ancient art of lettering with pen or brush. Ribbon dancing classes: Free traditional dance drop-in workshop sessions. Chinese stories: Enjoy hearing traditional Chinese myths and legends. Lion dancing: A professional dancing troupe will lead an authentic lion dance (not to be confused with the Dragon Dance). Dance demonstrations: Watch experts perform traditional Ribbon, Lion and Peacock dances.
The celebrations will finish with a stunning lion dance, in which visitors will be led by a professional Chinese dancers. Both lion and dragon dances have been performed in China for over a thousand years even though neither dragons nor lions existed in ancient China. They have become important symbols of good luck and prosperity and are performed at New Year and other cultural events.
For further information click here. The Museum of London Docklands is located at No1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL. Although all the sessions are free, some of the more popular ones are ticketed as there are limited places, but most are on a drop-in basis. These activities are suitable for all ages.
In Mandarin, Happy New Year is Xin Nian Kuai Le and Gong Xi Fa Cai means good fortune or congratulations. Traditionally, Chinese folk say these two phases together, "Xin Nian Kuai Le, Gong Xi Fa Cai" to wish wealth and fortune. Xin Nian Kuai Le to you and your family.