Did you know London hosts the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia? And trust me, it’s pretty magical! This year, in the Year of the Dog, take advantage of the marvelous spectacles, food, colors and fun that the West End has to offer.
Where to Go:
The most lively celebrations take place in the West End, specifically Chinatown, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square.
At 10AM the famous Chinese New Year parade begins in Trafalgar Square all the way through Chinatown. This is far and away my favorite part of CNY — the dancers, acrobatics, music, singing, colors and energy are a spectacle to behold. If you do nothing else, don’t miss the parade!
The most famous sites of the parade are the dragon and lion dances, which are meant to bring luck and prosperity into the New Year. The lion and dragon are important Chinese symbols also used to celebrate weddings, anniversaries or birthdays.
The main stage is located in Trafalgar Square — stick around to check out the Chinese Philharmonic Choir, Guandong Art Troupe of puppets and plenty other performances.
What to Eat:
If you’re anything like me, food is one of the main reasons to get excited about CNY. And, when the options promise to bring fortune and luck in the New Year, how could you say no?
Here are some traditional Chinese dishes and what they signify:
Chinatown will be buzzing with rich aromas and gorgeous food, so try something new — or try it all!
Buying something red for yourself or your home will bring luck to your year.
The Chinese also burn fake money in honour of their ancestors and give traditional red envelopes with cash to children and younger family members.
Finally, seeking higher ground is suppose to bring prosperity in all areas of your life (who couldn’t use more luck in their studies and career?) Catch a ride on the London Eye or get to the top of The Shard for a view of our beautiful city!
We hope you enjoy the Chinese New Year celebrations and have a prosperous and lucky year!
Kelly is a Freelance Writer and Editor, yogi, foodie and culture enthusiast. After living in Italy, Germany, Costa Rica and London, Kelly decided to take an extended travel adventure, making her way around the world while documenting the places and people she meets along the way.