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Dragon dances, acrobats, fireworks, a parade ... London is buzzing with excitement at Chinese New Year. Find out what you can do to join in the excitement!
The eventFor London’s Chinese community (and everyone else who loves a party!), Chinese New Year is a huge event. Before Chinese New Year, people make sure their houses are clean and tidy, buy new clothes and have their hair cut, to bring good luck for the new year. London has the biggest celebrations outside of Asia. Hundreds of thousands of people go to watch the parade from the West End to Trafalgar Square, which includes Chinese acrobats, and traditional lion and dragon dances.
The dateIn 2013, Chinese New Year is on 10th February. The exact date is calculated according to lunar and solar calendars, so it changes every year. This February will be the end of the Chinese year of the dragon and the beginning of the year of the snake. So, from the 10th February, especially in Chinatown, listen out for people wishing each other a “Kung Hei Fat Choi” - Happy New Year!
The celebrationsIn central London there are fireworks and stage performances with all kinds of acts and special guests. Previous celebrations have included fashion shows and Chinese hip hop acts, as well as more traditional performances with Chinese acrobats. Chinatown is buzzing with excitement. The streets are decorated with lucky red lanterns and full of craft and food stalls. If you’re thinking of eating in one of Chinatown’s excellent Chinese restaurants, however, book a table early, because you won’t find one on the night!
Chinese people in BritainFor young Chinese people studying or working in the UK, video conferencing is a brilliant way of joining big family celebrations back home. Those missing home might also cook traditional Chinese dumplings for friends in Britain or organise an evening of karaoke, another popular way of celebrating. The festivities are not as noisy as back home, they say, where loud firecrackers are traditionally used to frighten away evil spirits, and the special red envelopes of money from relatives may have further to travel to the UK. But there is still plenty of excitement, happiness and good feeling, as people come together to enjoy the celebrations.
More info about the Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year in London