To celebrate the upcoming Chinese Year of the Dog, the Museum of London Docklands is hosting a range of free cultural events during the February half term in tribute to East London’s long running historic links with the Chinese community.
Taking place all day Friday 16 February, the day of Chinese New Year, the activities will range from ribbon dancing classes and taekwondo taster sessions to calligraphy. The events will culminate with a spectacular dragon dance, in which museum visitors of all ages will be led by a professional dance troupe, as well as a host of other themed activities. Traditionally, lion dances were performed in ancient China to chase away the worries of the previous year, whilst welcoming happiness into the next one.
Highlights for the day include:
- Martial arts masters: Learn about Tai Chi and Kung Fu and try them out yourself.
- Ribbon dance workshop: Free traditional dancing drop-in sessions.
- Lion dancing: A professional dancing troupe will lead an authentic lion dance.
- Dance demos: Watch experts perform traditional Ribbon and Peacock dances.
Britain has enjoyed a trade relationship with China for more than 400 years, opening up the migration between the two countries. By the late 1800s a Chinese community was well established around Limehouse Causeway, close to the docks.
The fledgling Chinese community near Limehouse would eventually become known as London’s original Chinatown, although the decline of the shipping industry and the bombing of the capital’s docklands during World War II eventually led the community to relocate to Soho, where it remains to this day.
Cassandra Tavares, Family Learning Programme Manager at the Museum of London Docklands, said: “We’re excited to celebrate the history and heritage of Chinese culture with our Chinese New Year festival. Half term is the perfect opportunity to learn something new about a fascinating culture, which has passed its traditions on to the local community.”