EVENTS

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Chinese New Year Celebrations Centre, Gerard Street, Leicester Square, London WC2;. Museum of London (0171-600 3699), Watermans Arts Centre (0181-569 1176)

HAPPY NEW YEAR

New Year was celebrated yesterday by 1,000 million Chinese, but London's own celebrations for the year of the Ox start in earnest this weekend.

SUPERSTITION

The start of the Chinese calendar is accompanied by a clutch of ancient superstitions. Now is the time to clear your debts and talk well of people, since any bitchy comments will be refracted back on yourself in the coming year. Housework and cleaning is out, since this might sweep (or hoover) good fortune from your house.

SPECTACLE

Thousands of Londoners will congregate in Leicester Square tomorrow to witness a colourful orgy of Orientalism. On stage will be displays of kung fu and acrobatics, plus the Peking Opera, along with fabulously designed paper dragons, winding their way though the admiring crowds.

SNACKY NEW YEAR

Stalls around the stage offer visitors the chance to splash out and try something more adventurous and authentic than the glutinous post-pub take-away. Ancient Chinese delicacies include birds' nest soup, duck's tongues, fish lips and ox penis, but tomorrow you're more likely to enjoy some aromatic dumplings. Alternatively, sink your teeth into some fried rice flavoured with ginger and garlic.

If you're very lucky, you might be given a leaf of lettuce, a talismanic vegetable that traditionally symbolises long life. For dessert, why not wrap your chops around a fortune cookie to discover what's in store for you over the next 12 months. STORYTELLING

Away from the West End crush, there's a Lion Dance performance at the Museum of London tomorrow (1pm and 2.30pm), followed by a whole half- term's worth of themed activities for children. Actress Jacqui Chan will be entertaining children aged six and over with Chinese myths, legends and folktales at the museum, while creative kids can get snipping in mask-making workshops with artist Qu Shaliu.

Meanwhile, Chinese women living in London tell their story in the temporary exhibition, "Half the Sky", which combines artwork with personal stories.

SOMETHING NEW

From Friday, Waterman's Arts Centre in Brentford will also be examining art from the Chinese Diaspora, in "Another Province". This is an exhibition which steers clear of the country's familiar decorative and mythical tradition, explored so spectacularly on the streets of Soho, to investigate a host of contemporary crafts ranging from printmaking to jewellery.

The show begins a season of work by Chinese artists, film-makers and musicians which runs until 23 March. Next weekend the centre hosts its own New Year festival with all-day workshops and music from the Beijing Brothers.

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