Royal Museum Greenwich marks Lunar New Year 2022

Issued 2 December 2021

Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) will mark Lunar New Year 2022 on 29 January 2022 with a series of events at the National Maritime Museum.

Lunar New Year celebrates the beginning of a new year in various communities across Asia and is also known as the Spring Festival in some places. Traditions associated with Lunar New Year include sweeping of the home, family reunions, celebrating with meaningful meals and traditional performances. The Chinese Zodiac has a great impact on several Asian countries, such as Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand. This year, many countries will observe the Year of the Tiger.

The Lunar New Year celebrations at the National Maritime Museum are an opportunity for the Museum to celebrate the long relationship between Britain and Asia and to explore the continued sharing of cultures. It also gives visitors a chance to engage more deeply with the Asian objects in RMG’s collection. The event provides the opportunity for families to honour their heritage in a cultural space, engage with other visitors, celebrate together, and deepen their connection to the world around them.

This year, RMG will be working with several community groups to produce free workshops and performances at the Museum, suitable for all ages, with a number of digital resources also available on our website. In addition, there will be related events at the other Royal Museums Greenwich sites in the subsequent weeks.

For more information, visit





Ship printing

Discover the amazing silhouettes of the south-east Asian ships and boats within the Maritime Museum’s collection and use printing techniques to take them home with you.

Times:            11.00 | 12.00 | 13.00 | 14.00 | 15.00

Location:        Learning Space


Qigong & Tai Chi workshop

The ancient Chinese practices of Tai Chi and Qigong combine slow, deliberate movements, meditation, and breathing exercises. Join Tai Chi and Qigong specialist Chew-Yeen Lawes as she takes your family through a short session.

Times:           11.30 | 13.30

Location:        Group Space


Dragon and Lion Dance workshop

Join Global Fusion Music and Arts and discover the fantastic Dragon and Lion Dances. Learn what the dances signify and try your hand at the moves.

Times:            12.30 | 15.00

Location:        Group Space



Meet volunteers from Newham Chinese Association and learn about the traditional game, Mahjong. Volunteers will teach your family how to play and may even challenge you to a game.

Times:            11.00 - 14.00 | 15.00 - 16.00

Location:        Propeller Space


Lantern making

Hosted by Global Fusion Music and Arts, families are invited along to create their own lantern for the new year.

Location:        ReThink Space


Fan making

Inspired by the long history of paper and paper folding in south-east Asia, join Global Fusion Music and Arts to create paper fans. Take inspiration from paintings of Korea, Malaysia, and Vietnam within the Museum’s collection to help you to decorate your fan.

Location:       Under the figureheads


Talks and Tours

Spring Festival and its symbols in China

In China, the Lunar New Year is called Spring Festival, as it denotes the first of the four seasons and a fresh start to the year. In this talk, we will look at the significance of the moon and various symbols and traditions related to the festive period and discuss the impact these have had in the West today.

Time:              11.30

Location:        Lecture Theatre


Character Encounter with James Robson

Explore the Traders gallery with James Robson, a Chinese lascar (sailor) who served on the fastest and greatest of the tea clippers, Cutty Sark. Find out about the struggles of the tea trade between Britain and China on your journey, and the impact of the 19th-century Opium Wars on both countries.

Times:            11.00 | 12.00 | 13.00 | 14.00

Location:        Traders Gallery


Cantonese Opera: Behind the Scenes

We’ll be exploring what happens behind the scenes and looking at the traditions of Cantonese Opera, which can trace its roots back to the 12th century. Discover the meanings of the many elements involved with Rosa Cheng, artistic director of Vancouver Cantonese Opera.

This webinar will take place in advance and be shown at the Museum on the day.

Location:        Lecture Theatre


Tea Ceremony Demonstration

Join Chew-Yeen as she demonstrates the mindful tea ceremony to draw the Lunar New Year celebrations to a close.

Time:              15.50

Location:        The Great Map



Lion Dance

The first event of the day will be a traditional Lion Dance to open the festival. The dance will start outside the Museum, parade around inside, then finish on the Great Map.

Time:            11.00


Performances on the Great Map

There will be more performances on the Great Map in the afternoon including a kayagum performance during which Ji Eun Jung, a South Korean traditional musician based in London, is going to play representative pieces of Korean traditional music as well as Western music on a modern 25 string kayagum (Korean traditional harp). Other performances will comprise of a Kung Fu demonstration, Taiwanese Ribbon Dance, and more.

Time:              From 14.00

Location:        The Great Map






Behind the Scenes Tour… Lunar New Year Special 

The best way to access our collection and see conservation in action is through one of our behind-the-scenes tours. You will come face to face with our conservation team and learn first-hand about the objects' voyage from store to display. This month we will look at lunar objects and objects from countries that celebrate the new year.

Date:            3 February 2022

Time:            13.30 15.30

Age:                Suitable for ages 16 and above

Location:       Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre

Admission:    Adults £16 | Members £12




CoderDojo is a free coding club for young people interested in programming. The monthly club will consist of 90 minutes of programming in which you can take part in an array of specially designed coding activities or work with friends to create your own exciting project. In the final half an hour of the session, you will be able to share and present your projects with your peers. No experience necessary, beginners and coding experts alike are welcome. This session will be themed around Lunar New Year.

Date:            5 February 2022

Time:            10.30 12.00

Age:                Suitable for ages 7 to 17 | Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult

Location:       Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre, Learning Space

Admission:    Free





Bilingual Families Planetarium Show

Explore the Universe in a language other than English in our Bilingual Families planetarium show, designed for bilingual and multilingual families. An astronomer will take you on a tour of our vast and intriguing Universe and show you our little corner of it: the Solar System. Starting from our home planet, the Earth, the show will travel through our celestial neighbourhood, visiting objects like planets, moons, and asteroids, and ending with a fly-out to view our galaxy, the Milky Way.

Dates:           29 January 2022 – Mandarin | 5 February 2022 – Cantonese

Time:              10.30 – 11.00

Age:              Suitable for ages 7 and above

Location:       Royal Observatory Greenwich, Peter Harrison Planetarium

Admission:    Adult £10 | Child £5

URL:                Mandarin - | Cantonese -


Chinese Astronomy Planetarium Show

The study of the heavens has a long history in China dating back thousands of years. An astronomer from the Royal Observatory will explore the links between the Chinese calendar and the motion of the Sun, Moon, and stars. They will go into detail about Lunar New Year, the naming of each year and the relation with astronomy. No discussion of Chinese astronomy would be complete without a look at the latest achievements of the nation’s space program, from the soft landing on the far side of the Moon, to their mission to Mars.

Date:            12 February 2022

Time:              10.30 – 11.30

Age:                Suitable for ages 7 and above

Location:        Royal Observatory Greenwich, Peter Harrison Planetarium

Admission:     Adult £10 | Child £5





How to make a hongbao for the New Year

Hongbao are red envelopes, traditionally given to children and young adults in China, but many other cultures celebrate the new year with the giving of envelopes too. Using some simple origami, create your own envelope to give to someone to celebrate the new year.



How to create an auspicious fish poster for Lunar New Year

The image of the fish on many Lunar New Year posters symbolises a wish for an auspicious year. Create your own to decorate your home with this activity from Hantastic Kids.



How to make an origami flower

The lotus flower is a popular theme in Vietnamese culture, and it is rooted in Buddhism. The flowers grow out from the depth of muddy waters where they rise towards the sun, blooming. Just like the lotus flower, we too can overcome difficulties, grow, and thrive.



Tai Chi and Qigong demonstration

The ancient Chinese practices of Tai Chi and Qigong combine slow, deliberate movements, meditation, and breathing exercises. Join Tai Chi and Qigong specialist Chew-Yeen Lawes as she presents a selection of movements for you to follow from these traditional martial arts. This 10-minute instructional video will exercise your body and mind as well enrich your knowledge of traditional Chinese culture.



James Robson

Meet James Robson, a cook on board the Cutty Sark. Discover what life was like on board the Cutty Sark and find out what’s for dinner.



The Legend of Nian (BSL)

Join Deaf storyteller Deepa Shastri as she tells the story of Nian, a legendary monster. Discover why red is a good luck colour in China and why people wear brightly coloured clothes to celebrate the New Year. This story is in British Sign Language, with voiceover interpretation and captions.



How do people celebrate Chinese New Year – Newham Chinese Association

Find out more about how and why people celebrate Chinese New Year with our local partners the Newham Chinese Association. From dances and decoration to food and festivities, what are the origins of new year celebrations today?





The National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory Greenwich, Queen’s House, Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre, and Cutty Sark operate under the banner of Royal Museums Greenwich.


General admission to the National Maritime Museum is free, but we recommend that visitors book their tickets online in advance. This helps us spread visits out throughout the day, and ensures sites remain safe for all.


All events included here are free of charge to all visitors unless stated.




For further information or images please contact:

Royal Museums Greenwich Press Office

Tel:      020 8312 6545/6589