Edinburgh painted red for the Year of the Pig
By Zhang He

Landmark buildings across Edinburgh will be lit up in red as the city is planning the largest ever celebration of the Chinese New Year in Scotland.

For the first time ever, a coordinated program of special events will take place across Scotland's capital as locals and visitors celebrate the Year of the Pig.

Chinese New Year, a celebration of the new year according to the lunar calendar, falls on February 5, 2019. The festival will last for 15 days.

The launch of Chinese New Year Edinburgh on January 14, 2019. /Photo via Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG)

The launch of Chinese New Year Edinburgh on January 14, 2019. /Photo via Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG)

"Chinese New Year is a time to celebrate relationships and it is wonderful to see Edinburgh building on its relationship with China in a way that brings locals, visitors and the Chinese community in the city together," said Pan Xinchun, Chinese Consul General in Edinburgh.

A diverse program of events sees cross-cultural celebrations connect local audiences and businesses with Chinese visitors and performers in Edinburgh for a brand new festival.

Major events include the official Chinese New Year Concert at the Usher Hall, the opening of new Exploring East Asia Gallery at National Museum of Scotland and the Giant Lanterns of China at Edinburgh Zoo. 

A poster for The Giant Lanterns of China. /Photo via Edinburgh Zoo

A poster for The Giant Lanterns of China. /Photo via Edinburgh Zoo

"The rich program of Chinese New Year celebration will not only give the people of Edinburgh a chance to join in the celebrations and learn more about Chinese culture but also provide a warm welcome to visitors that this festival city has become renowned for," said Edinburgh Lord Provost Frank Ross.

The Usher Hall will host the official Chinese New Year Concert on February 9, 2019, featuring the Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Edinburgh Singers, and many outstanding artists and soloists from China and Scotland, including a never-before-heard rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

For those who are interested in the traditional celebrations of the Chinese Spring Festival, they would be given the chance try ancient festival activities such as making paper lanterns and red envelopes, attending calligraphy workshops and dressing up in traditional costumes at the National Museum of Scotland starting February 16.

Locals writing Chinese calligraphy. /Photo via ETAG

Locals writing Chinese calligraphy. /Photo via ETAG

Chinese New Year Edinburgh will be the final opportunity to see the Giant Lanterns of China: Myths and Legends at Edinburgh Zoo, where 200 artisans from China have created a world of folktales and fantasy told with over 450 stunning lanterns. Blending Scottish and Chinese folklore, this colorful exhibition is Scotland's only Chinese lantern festival, and is expected to run until February 17.

Other programs also include the performance of traditional Chinese folk music by the Rainbow Melodies Troupe of musicians from Tianjin University of Finance and Economics. The performance will be staged in February at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.

Scottish and Chinese mythical beasts light up the Edinburgh skyline to mark the launch of Chinese New Year Edinburgh. /VCG Photo

Scottish and Chinese mythical beasts light up the Edinburgh skyline to mark the launch of Chinese New Year Edinburgh. /VCG Photo

Performances of traditional Chinese instruments and dance will also be staged at the National Museum of Scotland to mark the museum's launch of the East Asia Gallery. Chinese lion dances will also be presented to visitors to celebrate the Year of the Pig.

With a host of performances and exhibitions, it is hoped that the celebrations and festive atmosphere of the traditional Chinese Spring Festival could be shared by residents in Edinburgh.