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Chinese New Year Celebrations In Newcastle Upon Tyne

Chinese New Year

Understanding global celebrations and sharing knowledge about diverse cultures to young ones is an essential aspect of fostering cultural appreciation. As a new mum over 40, I consider it my mission to instill in Little Cyrus, a broad understanding of the world.

Importance Of Cultural Diversity

Cultural diversity not only broadens his perspective, but also cultivates empathy and respect for different traditions. By introducing him to the Chinese New Year celebrations on our doorstep, I hope he gains a deeper understanding of the shared values that connect humanity. After all, breaking down barriers, and building bridges has never been more important than it is in the world we’re living in today.

Captivating Lion And Dragon Dancers

As we reflect on the 2024 Chinese New Year celebrations we experienced today (Sunday, 11th February), it’s clear Little C loved being part of this colourful spectacle. It might have been a miserable day weather-wise, but nothing was going to dampen the spirits of the hundreds of like-minded families who had also turned out to mark the occasion and find out more about this amazing annual event.

Starting with a captivating lion and dragon dance procession at the Monument, there were ample photo opportunities along the route. During the procession, participants added an extra touch of magic by generously handing out little red envelopes to children in the crowd. Witnessing this heartwarming gesture, Little C couldn’t contain his delight when he received one of these symbolic envelopes.

Protection Against Evil Spirits

In Chinese culture, the colour red holds profound significance, symbolising luck, prosperity, and protection against evil spirits. The act of sharing red envelopes during celebrations like Chinese New Year is a beautiful tradition, believed to guide good fortune into households. The small yet meaningful exchange added a touch of cultural richness to Little C’s experience, connecting him to a tradition that makes this celebration so special. We also do the same for Persian New Year for children and call it eidee. Money is added to little envelopes, but the notes must be crisp, new bank notes!

C loved watching the colourful Lion and Dragon dances. The elaborate costumes and synchronised movements created a lively and energetic display, truly capturing the essence of the festive spirit. Beyond entertainment, the dances carry profound cultural significance, believed to ward off evil spirits and usher in prosperity to the community. Each sway and leap connected us to the deeper roots of celebration.

The Lion Dance involved two performers wearing a lion costume, one guiding the head and the other the body. They performed nimble and acrobatic movements, mirroring the actions of a lion and all the children loved it. The dance starts with the ‘lion’ sleeping, and as the drum beats quicken, the lion wakes up, shaking its head and body, spreading good luck to the spectators.

Lively Pops And Crackles From Firecrackers

Little C was a little bit taken aback by the noise of the firecrackers, affectionately known as ‘Baozhu’ in Chinese. These strings of small explosive delights, adorned in vibrant red paper, usually come to life with a burst of energy precisely at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Filling the air with lively pops and crackles, they also serve the purpose of dispelling any lingering traces of evil spirits. It’s a spirited way to welcome the dawn of a fresh start and bid farewell to negativity, making the celebration all the more vibrant and meaningful.

As we wandered along Stowell Street and Bath Lane, it was lovely to see how many restaurants and businesses were offering a vibrant array of traditional Chinese food and arts and crafts, including calligraphy and music. Little C tried some traditional food that he said tasted like custard, got his hands on a traditional paper dragon accessory, and got to do some colouring in and stroke cats at the You Meow cat cafe. The highlight of his day!

You Meow Cat Cafe Experience

Nestled on Bath Lane, You Meow is a captivating cat café, inviting visitors to encounter an array of feline friends they might not have encountered elsewhere. There are a distinctive selection of cat breeds, featuring an elegant Persian called ‘Kebab’, majestic Norwegian Forest cat called Oscar, enchanting Siberian Forest cat called Finn, charming British Shorthair, and an exotic Savannah. It was an opportunity for Little C to get up close with these unique breeds in a cosy and inviting setting.

Our Verdict:

It’s not the cheapest hour we’ve spent at a cafe – £20 (for one adult and a child of seven) felt a bit steep for two tubs of cat nibbles, a coffee, hot chocolate and a couple of fortune cookies. Perhaps the fortune cookie message was right “Be Careful About Your Money!” However, on a positive note, it was the best hour ever for Cyrus and he didn’t want to leave. He absolutely adored meeting all the cats and playing with them and it beat his usual Lego Club routine at the gym. He’s determined to take baba (daddy) there now – but H is not a fan of cats, even when they’re Persian and called kebab.

Lucky Year Of The Dragon

The Year of the Dragon is considered particularly lucky, as the dragon symbolises power and strength in Chinese culture. In this time of celebration and good fortune, how can we incorporate the luck of the dragon into our daily lives? And how exactly will the new year impact each Chinese zodiac sign?

Year Of The Dragon Highlights:

Dragon (1928, 1940, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024) Naturally confident and lucky, Dragons find this year aligning with their fiery personalities, potentially leading to promotions and awards.

Rat (1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020) Hardworking Rats thrive in 2024, making new friends and finding success in unexpected places.

Monkey (1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016) Creative Monkeys feel at home during the Dragon’s reign, with opportunities flowing in.

Ox (1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021) Practical and loyal Oxen may face challenges but can embrace change for new friendships and exploration.

Tiger (1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022) Feisty Tigers encounter opportunities and obstacles; strategic approaches lead to success.

Rabbit (1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023) Lucky Rabbits can expect prosperity in this fortunate Dragon year.

Snake (1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013) Prioritise your wellbeing this year, focusing on your physical and mental health. Natural retreats, or places with lush greenery or serene waters will bring additional positive energy.

Horse (1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014) Active Horses blossom with potential love interests entering their lives.

Goat (1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015) Hardworking Goats find rewards in 2024; creative and friendly nature serves them well.

Rooster (1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017) Roosters embrace better relationships with newfound maturity.

Dog (1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018) Dogs enjoy peace and harmony, reconnecting with long-lost connections.

Pig (1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019) Pigs balance key aspects in the Year of the Dragon, relying on their social circle for support.

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Saffron and Cyrus is a Newcastle-based family lifestyle blog, covering health, wellness, days out, travel, reviews, recipes and more from our family life.
The blog is written by new mum over 40, Aranda, with input from hubby H and son, Little C.

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