Withthe Year of the Sheep upon us, the Chinese New Year celebrations brought London to life. Renowned for being one of the stand outs of the city’s cultural calendar, a whole host of attractions and events added to the festivities. The party official kicked off at the opening ceremony held in Trafalgar Square at midday on Sunday the 22nd, with London’s very own Mayor Boris Johnson taking part in the “Dotting of the Eye” ritual and will feature alongside some members on the local Chinese communities, as well as an array of international guests and dignitaries.
Trafalgar Square was transformed into a sea of oriental decorations with a range of dancers, musicians, martial artists and acrobats on the Main Stage providing some Chinese entertainment, whilst the second stage on Shaftesbury Avenue give local talents their chance to showcase their performances.
The influence Chinese cuisine has had on British culture has been huge, so visitors can take in some delicacies in a variety of locations. To get into the party mood, visitors could jump aboard the Party on the Top Deck at The Lotus, or take in some live lion dancing and great cuisine at the Phoenix Palace. Seeing in the New Year from birds eye view, the Shard’s Hutong restaurant hosted their very own special celebrations. To get fully involved with food however, Stratford City Westfield put on cooking sessions teaching onlookers how to create their very own Chinese dishes.
To try bring some luck and prosperity to those welcoming in the New Year, Gala Casino handed red envelopes in Chinatown throughout the week, in honour of the Hong Boa tradition. Casino at the Empire are provided some unique Chinese gaming sessions on their tables, whilst offering some oriental treats to taste.
But London’s biggest party came when the annual Chinese New Year Parade took to the streets on Sunday. Starting on Duncannon Street and finishing in Chinatown, the parade consisted of crafted floats and mystical dragons truly bringing a carnival atmosphere to the masses.
The New Year celebrations are enjoyable for the whole family, with the city offering some great free activities for children to get involved in. In Greenwich, the National Maritime Museum hosted their own crafts workshops and magic shows, whilst back in Trafalgar Square the National Gallery kept the young kids entertained with storytelling sessions and puppetry shows.
London was awash with celebrations, see the map of where the action took place…