How to celebrate this Chinese New Year in Durham


Spending quality time eating with family and friends is always the highlight of any Chinese New Year. Beyond all the delicious food, Durham City offers a wide array of free cultural activities that will make the best time of year even better! While today (24th January) is Chinese New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year officially starts on 25th january and many of the activities will be taking place then.

Free Performances and Activities

In the Durham Town Hall, there will be a whole day of free performances from local primary schools, DURance dancing group, and traditional musical ensembles. Starting from 10:30am and ending at 3:15pm, the full programme can be found here. If you fancy a cup of tea, Burlison Gallery (on Market Place) will be having a Chinese Tea Art Show and a tasting between 2:20 – 3pm. The Lantern Room will also be having craft activities if you want to try your hand at Chinese calligraphy or learn more about your Chinese zodiac sign.

Free Language Taster Sessions

In addition to all the free performances, there will be 20-minute Chinese language taster sessions between 11am and 2pm in Clayport Library on January 25th, as well as storytelling sessions at 11:30pm and 1:30 pm.

Traditional Lion Dance

There will also be a traditional lion dance starting at 12:30 pm on January 25th in front of the Gala Theatre. If you see a colourful lion running around the city, that is a sign that Chinese New Year celebrations are in full swing.

New Year’s Parties: Hong Kong Society

The Durham University Hong Kong Society will be hosting a Chinese New Year Party on the 25th from 10pm at Babylon. Pricing is £7 for Members, £8 Early Bird, and £10 on the door. On the 27th from 6:30 pm onwards, there will also be a Chinese New Year Dinner at InShanghai restaurant, with quality food and fantastic activities.

St. Aidan’s College

With a thriving International Society, St. Aidan’s College hosts several events for their community of international students. The Senior Common Room is hosting a Chinese New Year Formal on January 28th, with a three-course meal, drinks reception (starting 6:15pm) and surprise entertainment. The formal will cost £15 for members of St Aidan’s SCR & JCR, £18 for non-members. On January 30th, the St. Aidan’s International Society is hosting an International Night from 8-10pm with free Chinese food.

Oriental Museum

If you’re near Elvet Hill or staying in a hill college, the Oriental Museum’s temporary exhibition (from 13th January to 16th February) is perfect for you. There is also an arts and crafts event on the 25th of January from 1-3pm, where you can make lanterns and paper cuttings to decorate the museum. On the 8th of February (6-8pm) the museum will be lit by lanterns, and there will be Chinese food and drinks to sample. According to the museum, booking for this event will be opening soon.

Hopefully these activities will be an enjoyable start to the Year of the Rat!

Image: Ime007 via Pixabay

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