‘Make it short & snappy’
Q for a Quintet (5) of Quintessential activities to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Five fun ways to get involved in Chinese New Year, for adults, families and children:
- Dress to impress
- Get to know the animals
- Make some lanterns
- Eat some yummy food – in a restaurant, at home or learn to cook it
- Visit local exhibits on Chinese customs and community
‘Just the facts please’
- Chinese New Year Thursday 19th February
- Year of the…? Sheep, Ram, Goat? Confused? See this video from the BBC for further explanation.
- Islington Museum
- Twitter: @Islingtonmuseum
- Address: Islington Museum (Beneath Finsbury Library) 245 St John Street London EC1V 4NB
- Telephone: 020 7527 2837
- Opening times: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10am – 5pm. Wednesday and Sunday: Closed
- Cost: free
- Activities for Under 5s and schools
- From East to West: Chinese life in London since 1900 exhibition
- Chinese exhibition on until Saturday 26th February 2015
- Fun under 5’s activities at Moreland Children’s Centre
- Story teller extraordinaires: Olivia Armstrong and Dani Bradstreet
- Bar Shu Restaurant – Sichuan food
- Website: http://www.barshurestaurant.co.uk/
- Twitter: @BarshuLondon
- Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday: 12pm – 11pm & Friday to Saturday: 12pm – 11.30pm
- Telephone: 020 7287 8822
- Address: 28 Frith Street, Soho, London W1D 5LF
- Fuchsia Dunlop
- Website: http://www.fuchsiadunlop.com/
- Books: Various including ‘Shark’s fin and sichuan pepper’
- Twitter: @fuchsiadunlop
‘I’ve got a cup of tea, tell me all about it…’
I gained a fun insight into the world of Chinese New Year via the Islington Museum and Moreland Children’s Centre Early Years activities and wanted to share their enthusiasm of how to get involved. Here are five ideas for you and your family to try:
- Dress to impress.
It’s all about the red and gold. Red in China symbolised fortune and joy, gold is a colour associated with wealth and happiness.
To get involved, you can wear red, spot red when out and about, paint with red, decorate in red and highlight with some gold.
For some examples of lovely modern red and golds in fashion, Julie from Free People has taken some lovely shots here.
- Learn more about the animals in Chinese culture.
- Pretend to be a dragon (air, land or sea), lion or zodiac animal. Use face painting, sound effects, movement. Get into the character.
- Read a story together such as the story behind the year of the goat or learn the tale behind why the zodiac animals have been assigned.
- It’s the year of the horned animals (goats, sheep, rams), so go visit a City farm and familiarise your kids with these lovely creatures.
3. Make and decorate your own paper lantern:
Here are six very simple step by step instructions similar to those used at the Islington Museum and Moreland Children’s Centre to show how to make your own completed lantern. Here are some examples of some completed lanterns:
- Celebrate with food!
For kids: you can pretend play with eating paper noodles made from shredded paper, pretend your fingers are chop sticks, even sprinkle with 5 spice to evoke the smell.
For everyone: Go have a Chinese! If you want to eat out, one particular recommendation for those who can handle spicy Sichuan food in London is Barshu restaurant, it’s constantly packed and boasts Fuchsia Dunlop, Chinese food cook and food writer, as one of their gurus.
- Visit the Islington Museum’s special exhibition on Chinese customs in Islington with or without kids (the cushions are only out for special events).
It’s a great little museum that embraces community and welcomes you to visit and learn about the Islington area and it’s interesting history. Previous exhibitions have included highlighting how at one point there were zoo animals walking down the street! Visit to find out more.
Whatever you do, wishing you a Happy Chinese New Year!
*please note I’m yet to try a class at School of Wok, but I’ve heard good things. It’s definitely on my to do list!