Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is a major celebration in many parts of Asia where people with Chinese ancestry live. But its celebration is also spreading in the UK, where a sizable Chinese and Asian population now exists. The date of Chinese New Year is generally in late January or early February.
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Chinese New Year is not a public holiday in the UK, but more and more people are taking part in annual Chinese New Year events that focus on Chinese food, decorations and parades.
Although the UK as a whole doesn’t have a particularly high Chinese population, major centres such as London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester have a concentration of Chinese people. London’s Chinatown is especially large, old, and famous for its colourful celebrations of Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year is based on the Chinese lunar calendar and lasts for 15 days in China and other Asian countries. On the eve of the new year, families reunite for a traditional dinner. On day fifteen, an amazing Lantern Festival takes place that fills the sky with colourful, paper lanterns that are lit.
UK Chinatown events generally extend for a period of days or weeks to give more people an opportunity to participate.