Blog: Celebrating my third Lunar New Year in Liverpool

Author Ploykamol Suwantawit is a first year Communication and Media PhD student at the University of Liverpool.

When we start noticing red lanterns around Chinatown, we know that Chinese New Year is around the corner. This tiger year will be extra special, from numerous street stages to the fantastic Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dancer parade as we are preparing to celebrate two years in one!

Hi everyone, my name is Ploykamol, a Thai first-year PhD student from the Department of Communication and Media. This year will be my third time celebrating the Lunar New Year in Liverpool, and I can’t wait to be part of it again. The celebration in Liverpool, home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe, is exceptionally unique and enjoyable. It’s something we all look forward to. However, I never forget how I celebrated it with my family back home in Bangkok—where there is the largest overseas Chinese community in the world.

During the Lunar New Year, my family usually has a large family reunion at a Chinese restaurant, like other Thai-Chinese families. All my cousins and relatives come to spend time together. It’s great to see them again after being apart due to work and studying, especially my grandmother. She loved meeting everyone and listening to our exciting stories about what has happened throughout the year. But for the rest of the family, especially me and my siblings, the day’s highlight is definitely red envelope time. Unfortunately, I’m an adult now (even though I don’t want to be), so it’s now my turn to give red envelopes to my young relatives.

Honestly, I have been thinking about what I want to do for Chinese New Year because I would love to try something different this year. For my previous celebrations, I always start the day at the parade on Nelson Street. I then have a dim sum with friends at our favourite restaurant—Mei Mei, which we will keep doing the same for sure.

But this year, as I say, it will be extra special. The University’s Confucius Institute and Movema, a dance company, will introduce a lively dance session to anyone who would love to explore more about Chinese culture and tradition. You will learn about Chinese dance traditions with storytelling, fans and ribbons. Plus, this is a family-friendly activity, suitable for all ages and abilities. More importantly, it’s free, but pre-booking is required. The workshop will take place at the Victoria Gallery & Museum from 1pm to 4pm on Saturday, 29 January.

Then, the University’s Confucius Institute will introduce the ancient arts of Chinese calligraphy and paper cutting (and, of course, Chinese food and fortune cookies). The celebration will include a dragon show, which I highly recommend to anyone who has never seen it. You will also have a chance to listen to traditional Chinese music too. The celebration will be on University square from 10am to 11am on Tuesday, 1 February. However, the dragon show will run from 11 to 11.45am.

Again, this year, Liverpool will offer plenty of events running throughout the day. The city celebrations will begin on Saturday, 6 February, starting from the morning to approximately 5pm. You can definitely find numerous exciting activities around Chinatown and Liverpool’s landmarks, such as Great George Square, Town Hall and World Museum Liverpool.

I hope this gives you some ideas about celebrating the Chinese New Year in Liverpool. Also, I would like to wish you a very happy Chinese New Year and good health!