The image shows a woman performing a dance with ribbons in front of a crowd.

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.


Royal Museums Greenwich Will Hold Family Festival To Celebrate Lunar New Year 2024


Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) will celebrate Lunar New Year on 3 February 2024 with a day festival at the National Maritime Museum, suitable for all ages.


There have been Lunar New Year celebrations at the Museum for over 20 years, and this year RMG will welcome visitors back to mark the Year of the Dragon with performances, workshops, talks, and gallery-tours. Also known as the ‘Spring Festival’, the start of the new lunisolar calendar year is celebrated by many communities in East and Southeast Asia, and around the world, with traditions including gifting red envelopes, sweeping the grounds, family reunions, celebratory food, lighting lanterns and fireworks. RMG aims to provide the opportunity for families to celebrate their heritage in a cultural space, connect with other cultures and families, and engage with Asian objects in the Museum’s collection.


This year, RMG will also have a selection of street food vendors outside the Museum, and a Lunar New Year special planetarium show at the nearby Royal Observatory Greenwich.


For the latest information and the full schedule, visit




Magnificent Dragons

In this family-friendly workshop, visitors can celebrate the Year of the Dragon by creating a paper dragon puppet to take home.

Time:              Throughout the day

Location:       Learning Space


Lunar Fans

Inspired by the lunar connection to the festival, and lunar items in RMG’s collection, visitors can create and decorate fans to look like the Moon.

Time:              Throughout the day

Location:       Rethink Space



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

Location:       Under the figureheads


Korean Calligraphy

Guests can drop by this stall to learn more about Korean calligraphy traditions and find out what their own name looks like in Korean.

Time:              One session in the morning and another in the afternoon

Location:       Propellor Space


Cantonese Opera

Learn about the traditions of Cantonese Opera at this informative stall, including costumes for visitors to admire.

Location:      Propeller Space


Chinese Music

At this stall, visitors can learn about traditional Chinese instruments and music.

Location:      Propeller Space


Objects in Focus

Explore the collection up close with RMG curators who have selected some special objects relating to Lunar New Year. The curators will have a stall, and will also roam the Museum, showing the objects to visitors waiting in queues around the site.

Time:           Throughout the day

Location:       Sammy Ofer Wing and roaming




Tony Tang will deliver storytelling sessions throughout the day, telling tales relating to Lunar New Year.

Times:            11.30, 14.00, 16.00

Location:       Lecture Theatre


Asian Slaw Alliance

In this conversation, Jenny Lau invites Asian food lovers to reclaim and reimagine the ‘Asian’ in ‘Asian slaw’ according to their heritage and memories. Asian Slaw Alliance is a creative, trope-busting, food storytelling project by Lau, founder of Celestial Peach.

Location:       Lecture Theatre


Tea Ceremony

Chew-Yeen Lawes from Global Fusion Music and Arts demonstrates for visitors the mindful tea ceremony.

Location:       Lecture Theatre


Character Encounter with James Robson

Meet 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.

Time:             Throughout the day

Location:       Traders Gallery


Gallery Tour

Find out about fascinating objects from the collection that have East and Southeast Asian connections. This special tour will cover multiple galleries and be led by the Curator of World History and Cultures, Dr Aaron Jaffer.

Location:       Meet at Traders Gallery



Lion Dance

Congregate outside the Romney Road entrance to the Museum as London Lion Dance open the Museum’s celebrations.

Time:            9.45

Location:       Romney Road entrance


Performances on the Great Map

There will be a number of performances on the Great Map across the day including lion dances, martial arts, fan performances, music and more. The performances will be repeated throughout the day, and visitors will have the chance to reserve a space at one of the performance slots by collecting a wristband at the start of their visit.

Times:            11.00 | 12.30 | 14.00 | 15.30

Location:       The Great Map



There will be a selection of street food traders outside the Museum serving up authentic East and Southeast Asian cuisine.

Location:       Northwest lawns outside National Maritime Museum




Chinese Astronomy Planetarium Show – Lunar New Year Special

In this Lunar New Year special show, a Royal Observatory astronomer will explore how ancient Chinese astronomers used observations of the Sun, Moon, planets and the stars to tell time, how it’s reflected in the traditional Chinese calendar and stories associated with the Lunar New Year.

Date:               3, 10 February 2024

Time:              10.30 – 11.15

Age:                Suitable for ages 7 and above

Location:        Royal Observatory Greenwich, Peter Harrison Planetarium

Admission:     Adult £10 | Child £5



Bilingual Families Planetarium Show - Cantonese - 探索太陽系

Explore the Universe in a language other than English in this Bilingual Families planetarium show, designed for bilingual and multilingual families. An astronomer will take viewers on a tour of our vast and intriguing Universe starting from the Earth; the show will travel through our celestial neighbourhood, visiting objects like planets, moons, and asteroids. This month, the show will be delivered in Cantonese by astronomer Dr Sanson Poon.

Dates:            18 February 2024

Time:              10.30 – 11.15

Age:                Suitable for ages 7 and above

Location:   Royal Observatory Greenwich, Peter Harrison Planetarium

Admission:     Adult £10 | Child £5






Explore East and Southeast Asian items in the collection

Aaron Jaffer, Curator of World History and Cultures at Royal Museums Greenwich, highlights some of the objects from the National Maritime Museum's collections related to East and Southeast Asia.



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.



Chinese tea ceremonies and traditions

From weddings and holidays to hope for the new year, learn more about the history of tea traditions in China – and find out how to prepare for your very own Chinese tea ceremony.



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 in China celebrate the 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?





Venue:                     National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Date:                       3 February 2024

Opening times:        10.00 – 17.00

Admission:               Free

Visitor enquiries:      020 8858 4422

Twitter:                    @RMGreenwich

Instagram:               @royalmuseumsgreenwich

Facebook:               @royalmuseumsgreenwich



The National Maritime Museum holds the world’s largest maritime collection telling stories of Britain’s epic relationship with the sea, housed in historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site.


The National Maritime Museum is part of Royal Museums Greenwich which also incorporates the Royal Observatory, the 17th-century Queen’s House and the clipper ship Cutty Sark. This unique collection of museums and heritage buildings, which form a key part of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, and are also major centres of education and research. The mission of Royal Museums Greenwich is to enrich people’s understanding of the sea, the exploration of space, and Britain's role in world history. For more information, visit


For further information or images please contact:

Royal Museums Greenwich Press Office

Tel: 020 8312 6545/6789/6589