Five eco-friendly ways to celebrate Chinese New Year

| 20th January 2012
Five eco-friendly ways to celebrate Chinese New Year
From dim sum to tea tastings, ring in the year of the dragon in a planet friendly way

It’s been nearly a month, and that New Year’s resolution isn’t looking so appealing anymore. Whether it’s giving up sweets or joining a gym, we all struggle to stick to the commitments we make on January 1st. If you’ve already slipped up, Monday offers a second chance to get back on track. January 23rd marks the start of the Chinese New Year, when the dragon will reign supreme once again. The only mythical creature in the Chinese Zodiac, which has 12 symbols, the dragon represents good luck. ‘Often seen as perhaps the most important sign in the Zodiac, Chinese tradition dictates that those born in Dragon years tend to be brave, innovative and highly driven often making it to the top of their profession,’ says the London Chinatown website.

Despite the looming Mayan Apocalypse, 2012 is shaping up to be a good year for the UK. With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June and Euro 2012 on the horizon, the year of the dragon will be a fun one. Here’s how to celebrate its arrival in an eco-friendly way.

Suds up
Celebrate in the shower with Lush’s Limited Edition Red Dragon Soap. This dragon-shaped bar is as cute as it is functional. ‘Have a wash with the power of our Dragon soap and your ambitions for the year ahead may deliver you with good fortune,’ Lush says. Though its gold sheen may not deliver true wealth, you will leave the shower smelling of patchouli, lavender and pine, and feeling refreshed. And at £4.75, this vegan bar will leave plenty in your wallet for a night on the town.

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Take part in the China Town parade
If you want to be a part of the action, then the Chinatown parade should be your first port of call. Kicking off at Rupert Street at 10.15am on January 29th, the parade heads to Trafalgar Square where 100 performers including the Chen brothers, who hold the Guinness World Record for the highest pole jump in Flying Lion Dance, will dazzle onlookers. With plenty of fresh air and people watching, you’ll be happy you abandoned your bed early. And if you didn’t brave the crowds on December 31st, you can still get your fireworks fix with the parade’s finale.

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Get stuck into acupuncture
Treat yourself to a free acupuncture session at The Institute of Chinese Medicine, and realign your Qi. With free appointments available on January 21st for first-time clients, you have no reason not to indulge. If needles make you cringe, Tui-Na might be more up your street. Part of the Qi Gong tradition, this deep manipulation massage targets the energetic Qi system, and is said to be both preventative and restorative. A half hour massage will cost you £35, while an hour is a bargain at £50.

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Take some tea
If you fancy a change from English Breakfast, head over to The Chinese Tea Company, a teahouse and shop on Portobello Road in Notting Hill. With 50 different types of tea on offer, you’ll have plenty to choose from. From herbal rose buds to hand-tied flowering Jasmine and Chrysanthemum, these teas are as beautiful as they are exotic. Try the Lion’s Peak Dragon Well green tea for a fitting start to the year. Private tastings can be arranged at £15 a person for three teas.

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Tuck in to some sustainable dim sum
Each year the UK generates 280 million tonnes of waste, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [DEFRA]. If you’re craving some dim sum, ditch the takeaway containers and dine out instead. Ping Pong Dim Sum, which works in partnership with children's charity, Action Against Hunger, has 11 locations throughout London, all of which are certified by the Sustainable Restaurant Association. For Chinese New Year, Ping Pong is hosting 15 days and nights of prizes, specials, classes and festivities.

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