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With London hosting the largest celebrations of the Chinese New Year outside of China, it is clear that this festival is well and truly established in the UK. Birmingham is of course no exception, as it proved with festivities which took place at the Arcadian in Chinatown on Sunday, 29 January. Despite the cold, hundreds of people turned out to welcome in the Year of the Dragon with traditional displays of dance, martial arts, music, fireworks and even magic. Not to be missed was the world-famous tradition of performances by Chinese dragon dancers!
The dragon is one of the mightiest and most mysterious of the zodiac symbols – those born in this year are traditionally said to be hard-working, ambitious and successful, and these traditions apparently still matter in modern-day China – experts have raised concerns for the already crowded health services as families plan to give birth to so-called “dragon babies”. Predictions suggest that there could be up to 10% more births in China in 2012 than 2011!
In the meantime, Chinese families across the globe are celebrating this festival together. With millions of young Chinese workers now moving to the cities to find jobs, the migration of people within China to return home in time for the celebrations, whether by car, plane, or train, has officially become the world’s largest ever human mass migration.
What will the Year of the Dragon bring for China, one of the world’s fastest-changing countries? We can only hope that the most auspicious of zodiac creatures has great things in store.
新年快乐！ – Happy New Year!
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham