London Prepares for Chinese New Year

London will play host to the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia next month.

Events will take place between February 19 and February 22 and will be held at multiple venues across the capital. London’s West End will be a hub of activity, with thousands expected to wish each other a Cantonese ‘San Nin Faai Lok’ or a Mandarin ‘Xin Nian Kuai Le’ – both translate as ‘Happy New Year’.

The main Chinese New Year festivities will take place in Shaftesbury Avenue, Chinatown and Trafalgar Square.

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There will be a stage and a fun-filled parade in Trafalgar Square on February 22, between 10am and 6pm. The parade will start in Duncannon Street and move on to Shaftesbury Avenue to kick off the day’s activities. There will be floats and Chinese dragon and lion teams putting on a spectacle for the crowds to enjoy. Other entertainments on offer will include local artists performing and a host of craft and food stalls.

The event forms part of one of London’s largest outdoor annual celebrations. The free performances will start at midday and will feature everything from music and dance to martial arts and acrobatics. The programme in Trafalgar Square will begin with the amazing Chen Brothers Flying Lion Dance.

The celebrations will stretch out into Chinatown, Leicester Square and Charing Cross Road, and the events are organised by the London Chinatown Chinese Association, with support from Westminster City Council and the Mayor of London.

Chinese New Year 2015 will mark the start of the Year of the Sheep and actually falls on February 19 this year.

If you don’t live in the capital, why not plan a trip to coincide with the world-renowned festivities? There is a wide range of hotels in and near Chinatown in London to ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the action – or the many other attractions that the English capital has to offer.

Photos: vvoe