Chinese New Year, also known as The Spring Festival, is celebrated in February. Each New Year is marked by one of 12 characters in the Chinese Zodiac and this year it’s the Year of the Monkey. People born under this sign are, not surprisingly, considered to be quick-witted, curious and mischievous!

There are some interesting customs and traditions observed at this time. Did you know that you shouldn’t take medicine on the first day of the New Year as it’s believed that it could mean you’ll be unwell for the rest of the year? And don’t eat porridge as it’s considered a meal for the poor and therefore a bad omen for your wealth for the rest of the year. Washing your hair and sweeping with a broom on the first day of the New Year could also have an adverse effect on your financial situation and avoid using sharp objects in case you have an accident – another bad omen for the rest of the year! Wearing worn clothing is considered bad luck and you should also avoid monochrome clothes in black and white as these are linked to mourning. It’s also bad luck to have crying children around at this time so little ones are kept very, very happy during the Festivities.

The week-long Festivities commence this year on 8th February and on 14th February, the night before the Lantern Festival on the 15th, hundreds of people will throng the streets of China Town in Newcastle to join the celebrations. Look out for lots of free Chinese events with street performances, crafts, dance and food and music – it’s an event not to be missed!