Chinese New Year and the UK’s Chinese Community
There are well over 400,000 Chinese people living in the UK, and as numbers continue to grow, so does the popularity of their traditions, like their new year celebrations.
Chinese new year falls on 5th February this year, but the celebrations are expected to last until 19th. Chinese families all over the world will be setting off fireworks and firecrackers to ward off bad luck and attract good fortune going into the new year. There’ll be parades, floats, and celebrations of Chinese culture all across the UK, from Newcastle, to Birmingham, and London.
Why has Chinese new year become more important?
The Chinese community and their traditions have become much more assimilated into UK culture.
This has happened for several reasons:
The Chinese community has become more integratedChina has become a world economic and political power and Chinese companies invest billions in the UK. Over 90,000 Chinese students attend UK colleges and universities Around 350,000 Chinese tourists visit our shores each year
A better understanding of Chinese Culture
The growing links between the UK and China means that more people from the UK have been to China, and vice versa, so there is a better understanding of their respective cultures. This has led to the growth in the significance and popularity of Chinese new year, and some large organisations now get involved with the celebrations.
The role of the Chinese community
The Chinese community in the UK is uniquely placed to give us an insight into their culture, because they understand the differences between life in the UK and how they traditionally do things. They have already done much to enable us to experience traditional Chinese food, art, and culture.
Keeping traditions alive
The UK’s Chinese community still observes many of the new year traditions, but as generation after generation of younger people come to UK shores, will they be able to keep these traditions alive?
The Ming-Ai Institute in London has set up an online platform that aims to allay these fears. The British Chinese Heritage Centre website is full of information and stories about the culture and heritage of the British Chinese. It includes sections on British Chinese Workforce Development, British Chinese Food, and there’s a section about British Chinese members of the armed forces.
Are you doing anything to observe Chinese new year? What is your company doing to get involved?