Celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 in Edinburgh

Celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 in Edinburgh

Giant Lanterns of China: Lost Worlds

Kick off the Year of the Rat in the Scottish capital, with ceilidh dancing, larger-than-life art installations, language tasters and more

Known for their charming nature and spirited wit, those born under the sign of the Rat will have extra reason to celebrate their astrological year in 2020, as the capital prepares to usher in Chinese New Year with a dynamic cultural programme to be found throughout the city.

The larger-than-life lantern spectacular returns to light up Edinburgh Zoo as Giant Lanterns: Lost Worlds (until Sun 26 Jan) transports visitors back 570 million years into Earth's pre-history. Come face-to-face with dinosaurs, beasts of the Ice Age and forgotten megafauna in this spectacular display of over 600 beautifully crafted lanterns. The zoo will also be hosting a Chinese New Year Reception to start the year on the right foot, with the date yet to be determined. Another welcome return to this year's programme is the Edinburgh Official Chinese New Year Concert (Tue 21 Jan), which will take place beneath the hallowed dome of Usher Hall and showcase the talents of the Guizhou Song and Dance Troupe.

Celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Official Chinese New Year Concert

The Confucius Institute of Scotland will be running a dynamic roster of events highlighting the country's many cultural treasures, including a useful primer on Chinese New Year phrases, tales and rituals for the uninitiated at their Glimpse Into Chinese New Year (Thu 23 Jan) workshop. As Burns Night and Chinese New Year have fortuitously aligned for 2020, the Institute will also be launching the third edition of the Mandarin translation of Burns' Selected Poems alongside a selection of original calligraphy at the Burns Poetry Launch and Calligraphy Exhibition (Thu 23 Jan). Or try your hand at learning the language yourself at their Free Language Taster (Tue 28 Jan) and master the essential phrases in time for their Chinese New Year Party (Fri 31 Jan), which promises heaps of dumplings, games of mahjong and Chinese chess, karaoke and more.

Holyrood Distillery also does its bit to build cultural bridges between Scotland and China with its Chinese New Year celebrations (Thu 23 Jan–Sun 2 Feb), which fuses homages to the Ploughman Poet with Chinese traditions, such as themed tastings of whisky and gin, red envelope gifts and more. Another alcohol purveyor keen for a bit of Asian fusion is Bellfield Brewery, who will be hosting a series of Celebration Feasts (Thu 23–Sun 26 Jan), which blends Chinese culinary tastes with the best of Scotland's natural larder, alongside live poetry readings and music. Hotel Chocolat will also be uniting taste buds at their Tartan Meets Tradition Chocolat Lock Ins (Mon 20; Wed 22; Fri 24; Sat 25 Jan), which will see participants sample a range of their divine chocolate concoctions.

Celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 in Edinburgh

Burns Poetry Launch and Calligraphy Exhibition

Museums across Edinburgh will also be joining in the revelry, with the National Museum of Scotland encouraging the wee ones to get involved at their Family Activity Day (Sat 25 Jan). From calligraphy and envelope-making to fancy dress sessions, there's hands-on fun for the whole family across the museum's collections, as well as the chance to witness the majestic Lion Dance. Closing the day will be their Celebrating Chinese New Year & Burns Night: A Musical Finale (Sat 25 Jan), which sees traditional musicians from both China and Scotland perform a medley of songs.

The Museums in Mandarin and Collections in Cantonese teams will be hosting a Chinese New Year Spotlight Series at St Cecilia's and the Anatomical Museum (Fri 24 & Sat 25 Jan), as well as marking the very welcome return of Bilingual Ceilidhs (Fri 24 & Sat 25 Jan) over at St Cecilia's, with the chance for Chinese visitors to experience the sweaty, breathless fun of being flung across a room. St Cecilia's will also be hosting a musical feast with their Celebration of Chinese Culture (Sat 1 Feb), which will showcase a vibrant selection of music, song, poetry and dance across a diverse range of styles.

Celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 in Edinburgh

Lion Dance at the National Museum of Scotland's Family Activity Day

Speaking of concerts in atmospheric venues, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh will see the Scottish Confucius Institute for Business and Communication at Heriot Watt University play host to the Rainbow Melodies troupe from Tianjin University of Finance and Economics at the 2020 Year of the Rat Celebration Concert (Thu 6 Feb). The troupe will perform a programme of traditional Chinese folk music on the erhu, Chinese zither, drumes, pipa and suona horn. Mercat Tours will also be hosting a special edition of their Royal Mile tour (Sat 25 & Sun 26 Jan; Sat 1 & Sun 2 Feb), which will see storytellers weave tales from previous Years of the Rat that have proved seminal to Scotland's rich history.

For those looking to get a bit of shopping in during this auspicious time of the year, the Scottish Textiles Showcase (Tron Kirk, Mon 20 Jan–Sun 2 Feb) will feature a selection of Scottish-made cashmere, tartan and tweed, alongside a few items specially designed for the Year of the Rat. Guests can enjoy a wee dram while browsing and chat tasting notes with whisky writer Tom Bruce-Gardyne. Or join the rat race at John Lewis' Race for the Rats (Sat 25 Jan), which will see shoppers put their rat-like intelligence to the test in order to sniff out the lucky envelopes of John Lewis & Partners gift vouchers which have been stashed away around the store.

Chinese New Year, various venues: Edinburgh, until Thu 6 Feb.

Bilingual Ceilidhs

Ceilidhs designed to be accessible to visitors from China. Each ceilidh begins with Chinese drumming and a demo team will demonstrate dancers, encouraging everyone to have a go.

St Cecilia's Hall, Edinburgh

Fri 24 Jan 2020

£5 / 0131 650 2600

  • 18:30 – 20:30

Sat 25 Jan 2020

£5 / 0131 650 2600

  • 18:30 – 20:30

Burns Poetry Launch & Calligraphy Exhibition

The launch of the third edition of the Chinese edition of Robert Burns' Selected Poems, with original calligraphy.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland, Edinburgh

Thu 23 Jan 2020

Free / 0131 662 2180

  • 18:30 – 19:30

Celebrating Chinese New Year & Burns Night: A Musical Finale

A musical celebration of both Burns Night and Chinese New Year, with Chinese and Scottish traditional musicians.

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Sat 25 Jan 2020

Prices to be confirmed / 0300 123 6789

  • 15:45

A Celebration Feast at Bellfield Brewery

A joint celebration of Chinese New Year and Burns Night, with New Year food and a special edition beer.

Bellfield Brewery and Taproom, Edinburgh

Thu 23 Jan 2020

Times & prices to be confirmed / 0131 656 9390

Sun 26 Jan 2020

Times & prices to be confirmed / 0131 656 9390

A Celebration of Chinese Culture

A celebration of Chinese culture, featuring music, song, poetry and dance, in celebration of the Chinese New Year.

St Cecilia's Hall, Edinburgh

Sat 1 Feb 2020

Free / 0131 650 2600

  • 14:30 – 16:00

Chinese New Year

Celebrate Chinese New Year at the museum with family friendly activities and performances.

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Sat 25 Jan 2020

Grand Gallery, Level 1

Free / 0300 123 6789

Chinese New Year at Holyrood Distillery

A week of events celebrating Burns Night and Chinese New Year, with tastings, gifts and limited edition whiskies.

Holyrood Distillery, Edinburgh

Thu 23 Jan 2020

Times & prices vary

Part of Chinese New Year.

Fri 24 Jan 2020

Times & prices vary

Part of Chinese New Year.

Sat 25 Jan 2020

Times & prices vary

Part of Chinese New Year.

…and 8 more dates until 2 Feb 2020

Chinese New Year at the Scotch Whisky Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience is going red for Chinese New Year, and Silver and Gold whisky tours are available in Mandarin and Cantonese. Scottish tapas with a Chinese twist are being served, and a whisky cocktail celebrating both Chinese New Year and Burns Night will be served.

The Scotch Whisky Experience, Edinburgh

Sat 25 Jan 2020

Times vary / Included in admission / 0131 220 0441

Part of Chinese New Year.

Confucius Institute for Scotland Chinese New Year Party

Scotland's annual Chinese New Year marking the arrival of the Year of the Rat.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland, Edinburgh

Fri 31 Jan 2020

Free / 0131 662 2180

Booking is essential.

  • 18:00 – 21:00

The Confucius Institute for Scotland's Free Language Taster

Interactive taster class for those looking to learn Mandarin.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland, Edinburgh

Tue 28 Jan 2020

Times to be confirmed / Free / 0131 662 2180

Edinburgh Official Chinese New Year Concert

Chinese New Year celebration, hosted by the Asian Association of Commerce, Culture and Education in Europe. Featuring music from the Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Edinburgh Singers, as well as Chinese folk pieces performed by Chinese artists.

Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Tue 21 Jan 2020

£15 (£10; Children £10) / 0131 228 1155

Giant Lanterns: Lost Worlds

Bespoke displays created by Chinese craftspeople from Sichuan. This year's exhibit has a theme of 'Lost Worlds'.

Edinburgh Zoo

Wed 18 Dec

£18 (Children £9.50) / 0131 334 9171

Time slots are available every 15 mins, with the last ones starting at 7.30pm.

  • 16:45 – 21:00

Thu 19 Dec

£18 (Children £9.50) / 0131 334 9171

Time slots are available every 15 mins, with the last ones starting at 7.30pm.

  • 16:45 – 21:00

Fri 20 Dec

£18 (Children £9.50) / 0131 334 9171

Time slots are available every 15 mins, with the last ones starting at 7.30pm.

  • 16:45 – 21:00
…and 23 more dates until 26 Jan 2020

A Glimpse into Chinese New Year's Culture

A free drop-in workshop with language as well as cultural activities for Chinese New Year.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland, Edinburgh

Thu 23 Jan 2020

Free / 0131 662 2180

  • 16:30 – 18:30

Join the Race for the Rats

Spot the red envelopes and find gift cards to properly celebrate Chinese New Year.

John Lewis, Edinburgh

Sat 25 Jan 2020

Free / 0131 556 9121

Part of Chinese New Year.

  • 12:00 – 14:00

Museums in Mandarin & Collections in Cantonese

Come and explore the highlights of the collections and museum with the Museums in Mandarin and Collections in Cantonese teams. Tours are free but ticketed.

Anatomical Museum, Edinburgh

Fri 24 Jan 2020

Times & prices vary

Sat 25 Jan 2020

Times & prices vary

St Cecilia's Hall, Edinburgh

Fri 24 Jan 2020

Times & prices vary / 0131 650 2600

Sat 25 Jan 2020

Times & prices vary / 0131 650 2600

A Royal Mile Special: Chinese New Year

Year of the Rat-themed tour of the Royal Mile, highlighting interesting characters from Scottish history.

Mercat Tours, Edinburgh

Sat 25 Jan 2020

£14 (£12; Children £9; Family £27) / 01312255445

Part of Chinese New Year.

  • 11:00

Sun 26 Jan 2020

£14 (£12; Children £9; Family £27) / 01312255445

Part of Chinese New Year.

  • 11:00

Sat 1 Feb 2020

£14 (£12; Children £9; Family £27) / 01312255445

Part of Chinese New Year.

  • 11:00

Sun 2 Feb 2020

£14 (£12; Children £9; Family £27) / 01312255445

Part of Chinese New Year.

  • 11:00

Scottish Textiles Showcase

A showcase for work by Scottish artisans and wool mills, at which you can enjoy a free dram.

Tron Kirk, Edinburgh

Mon 20 Jan 2020

Times to be confirmed / Free

Tue 21 Jan 2020

Times to be confirmed / Free

Wed 22 Jan 2020

Times to be confirmed / Free

…and 11 more dates until 2 Feb 2020

Tartan Meets Tradition Chocolat Lock In

A chocolate tasting celebrating Burns Night and Chinese New Year. Admission gives you £10 to spend in the store on the night.

Hotel Chocolat, Edinburgh

Mon 20 Jan 2020

£10 / 0131 226 7537

  • 18:15 – 19:15

Wed 22 Jan 2020

£10 / 0131 226 7537

  • 18:15 – 19:15

Fri 24 Jan 2020

£10 / 0131 226 7537

  • 18:15 – 19:15

Sat 25 Jan 2020

£10 / 0131 226 7537

  • 18:15 – 19:15

Year of the Rat Celebration Concert

Musicians from Tianjin University of Finance and Economics play a selection of pieces based on traditional Chinese folk music.

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Thu 6 Feb 2020

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 248 2909

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