Chinese New Year celebrations in Edinburgh

Here at the Scotch Whisky Experience, we love an excuse for a party, and Chinese New Year is no exception. Sometimes known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year occurs around the beginning of the western calendar (between January and February). In 2018, it falls on Friday 16th February, marking the start of the Year of the Dog. We’ve searched the city of Edinburgh to find out what events and occasions are happening to mark this exciting celebration.

Lighting up in red

Scotch Whisky Experience in red

The colour red is extremely lucky in China, and at New Year it’s customary for family members and friends to exchange red envelopes of money as gifts. Attractions and landmarks across Edinburgh, including Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura and the Scotch Whisky Experience, will be lighting up in red on the evening of the 16th February to mark the start of the Year of the Dog Festivities. If you’re out and about exploring the city after dark, keep an eye out for the red buildings!

Animal magic

If you haven’t yet had the chance to visit the spectacular Great Lanterns of China exhibition at Edinburgh Zoo, you’ve got just 10 more days to catch it! Held after hours as darkness descends, this incredible exhibition is made up of over 450 exquisitely crafted silk lanterns in the shapes of animals, mythical creatures, flowers, structures, and buildings, dotted throughout the grounds of the zoo. Visitors will also be treated to performances and showcases of traditional Chinese dance and acrobatics, making for a truly breathtaking evening for the whole family.

For tickets and information, visit

Chinese New Year Gala

Edinburgh’s Usher Hall is drawing huge crowds for its forthcoming concert on the 20th February, which celebrates Chinese New Year with a spectacular touring ensemble – China’s Sounds of the Silk Road. The Usher Hall describes the event as “showcasing the quintessence of western contemporary and Chinese traditional music of all countries along the Silk Road using classical Chinese musical instruments, voice and dance.” An unmissable event.

For tickets, visit

Decorations galore

For a bit of indulgence, take a stroll down Multrees Walk (off St Andrew’s Square) over the next couple of weeks. Already a hotspot for Chinese visitors to Edinburgh who want to shop till they drop, the retailers of Multrees Walk are going all out with splendid decorations in red and gold, as their way of saying Happy New Year.

Celebrate yourself!

Fancy giving your own welcome to Chinese visitors to Edinburgh? Here at the Scotch Whisky Experience, we’ve been learning to say Happy New Year in Mandarin, and you can do so too, using the video below.

For now, 新年快乐!

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