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Time: 16:21 23 May 2011

The capital celebrates China

25th January 2012

Adventurous visitors to central London hotels are in an ideal position to take advantage of the range of unique and off-the-wall celebrations taking place this weekend and beyond in honour of the Chinese New Year.

A short tube ride away from hotels in Marble Arch, The BFI Southbank will be marking the occasion by screening four films that explore Chinese culture, history and cinema.

Focusing on the region's unique contribution to the world of philosophy, The BFI Southbank will kick off its events with a biopic of Confucius on February 4th.

From February 17th through to 22nd, screenings of A Simple Life will be available followed by Unseen China - a series of documentaries.

A Simple Life comes from critically-acclaimed Hong Kong director Ann Hui and follows the relationship between a middle-aged man and his family's amah, a type of domestic servant, who becomes ill after 60 years of service.

Those arriving in the capital in time for the city-wide celebrations on January 29th can learn more about their position on the Chinese zodiac calendar at the National Gallery.

The Chinese Zodiac Trail looks at 12 pictures from their collection that depict each animal from the 12-year cycle.

"In Chinese astrology, each year is represented by an animal. People born in a given year are said to have personality traits associated with that year’s animal sign," explained the gallery.

Meanwhile, Time Out London suggests that visitors to the capital hit China Town in Soho and pick up a dragon fruit seed to bring home and plant as a special memento.

"Celebrate the Year of the Dragon by planting a Dragon fruit. As they originate from warmer climates, they like to live indoors, making them the perfect plant for city dwellers," explained the publication.

Additionally, the healthy fruit is high in fibre, protein, iron and calcium, with the group urging people to turn them in juices and salads.

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