Helsinki’s Chinese New Year is celebrated on Keskuskatu and at cultural centres

The Chinese New Year event takes place on Saturday, 21 January in Helsinki city centre and cultural centres across the city. The year of the Tiger turns into the year of the Rabbit with dragon and lion dances as well as ice sculpting demonstrations. The ice sculptures on Keskuskatu and in the yards of the cultural centres will continue to delight people for a longer period.

In honour of the day, Helsinki’s cultural centres will also organise their own special programme, such as an origami workshop in Maunula House, a screening of the film The Year of the Hare in Kanneltalo as well as the Breath in & Breath out exhibition by Oi Ling Ng, an artist who combines East Asian and Western elements, in cultural centre Caisa between 13 and 28 January. 

The revitalising event of the early year, Helsinki’s Chinese New Year invites citizens to enjoy the traditional programme of the day. The public will be able to experience dragon and lion dances as well as ice sculpting on Keskuskatu, between Kaivokatu and Aleksanterinkatu, from 4 p.m. until 7.30 p.m. Weather permitting, the rabbit-themed ice sculptures on Keskuskatu and in the yards of the cultural centres of Helsinki (Caisa in Kallio, Kanneltalo in Kannelmäki, Maunula House in Maunula, Stoa in Itäkeskus and Vuotalo in Vuosaari) will continue to delight people for longer, possible until Wednesday, 25 January. Ice sculpting demonstrations are organised on Keskuskatu and at the cultural centres already on Friday, 20 January and on Saturday, 21 January at 10–15.

“At the cultural centre Caisa, Chinese New Year is always one of the special days of the year. This year, we celebrate it with a workshop for the entire family, in which artist Oi Ling Ng guides us in the painting of Chinese Zodiac animals with ink”, says Johanna Rissanen, Producer of Cultural Events at Caisa.

The programme of the Chinese New Year is available on the event website. The cultural centres’ own programmes are available on their respective websites.

In Chinese zodiac tradition, the rabbit is a symbol for hope. “The year of the rabbit 2023 brings about the theme of hope. Hope is surely needed by the Chinese as well as the rest of us, so let us leap into the new year with optimism and hopeful expectations”, says Mikko Puustinen, Chairman of the Finland–China Society.

The New Year festival is the most important event of the year in China. Festival moods from Beijing, China are distributed via the Helsinki channel and a video recording published on the event website. There will be musical performances, dance and kung fu as well as an exploration into Beijing’s sights and New Year festival traditions through the eyes of foreigners living in the city, including a Finn.

Helsinki’s Chinese New Year event is hosted by the cities of Helsinki and Beijing, and it has been celebrated since 2007. The event is produced by Helsinki Events Foundation together with Cultural Centre Caisa and the Finland–China Society. New Year festival atmosphere from Beijing is available online via Helsinki channel and on Saturday 21 January 5 p.m.–5:40 p.m.

Image: Petri Anttila