Today is Chinese New Year – so wishing everyone happiness and prosperity!
Or 恭喜发财 [Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin) or Gung Hay Fat Choy (Cantonese)]
2021 is the Year of the Ox. People born in an Ox year are said to be dependable and determined, just like an ox.
Although celebrations are online this year because of Covid, people traditionally go home to meet up with family. The biggest family gatherings are usually on Chinese New Year’s Eve, where families remember the past year.
Other customs are:
Red decorations and lanterns. Red symbolises good luck and prosperity.
Fireworks are let off.
Children are given red envelopes with money inside.
People eat traditional foods such as dumplings, fish, rice balls, spring rolls, and fish. Different parts of China have different food traditions.
Last, but not least, the Chinese New Year Parade in London, with lion dancers, music and dance.
Tomorrow is the major Hindu festival of Diwali, the festival of lights. For most Hindus, the day is the third day of a five-day celebration, celebrating the victory of light over darkness and of knowledge over ignorance. The highlight for many is the Lakshmi Puja, a festival to the goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, although other gods may also be honoured.
People celebrate by lighting lamps and putting up decorations, setting off fireworks, visiting family, giving gifts, and eating special sweets.
The time of Diwali is also sacred for Sikhs, who celebrate the day as Bandi Chhor Divas, the “Day of Liberation”. On this day, the Sikh Guru Hargobind was released from prison by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir.
This weekend marks the Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year celebration in the Jewish calendar, and the start of a holy period leading up to Yom Kippur.
The Jewish community has long had, and continues to have, a significant presence in the Borough, and they have made many contributions to London. Although activities have been disrupted by COVID, in Camden there are:
Instead of being just one weekend, the festival will go from 19 September to 27 September. There will be events, online events, booked tours, self-guided walks, and many more. The main Open House weekend will be 19 & 20 September.
Events in Camden include:
Self-guided tours around Camden (both walking & cycling)
Guided tour of Somers Town
Edwardian Art & Architecture tour in Bloomsbury
St George’s Church, Bloomsbury Way
Shaftesbury Theatre , Shaftesbury Avenue
St Pancras Chambers & Clock Tower, St Pancras Station, Euston Road
Hampstead Friends Meeting House, 120 Heath Street
Acland Burghley School, Burghley Road
Fitzroy Park Allotments
Warehouse refurbishment, 9 Jeffrey’s Place
Photographic exhibition at Pushkin House, Bloomsbury Square
Bloomscape online event run by John Birkbeck School of Arts