Happy Chinese New Year Everyone! This year it is the year of the Monkey On the 14th February 2016 (yes this is also Valentines Day) the LCCA- London Chinatown Chinese Association held events in several locations around Central London in celebration of the Chinese New Year. I have no Chinese heritage but I love the fact that in London every culture and their traditions are celebrated with the masses. I love Chinese food and go to Chinatown regularly with friends to grab a bite or go to one of the Chinese supermarkets to get my green tea. It is one of those places in London that is always thriving and has a great atmosphere. The Chinese New Year is a ‘Lunar New Year’ as the Chinese calendar is Lunisolar. You can find the history of the Chinese New Year on www.lccauk.com. On the 15th Day of the first month it is the lantern festival. The photo below shows Chinatown covered in Lanterns, it looked amazing! A lovely lady also had time to take a cheeky selfie I also got the opportunity to get a photo taken with the Monkey King and a lovely group of traditional Chinese lion/dragon dancers.
I arrived at the celebrations at around 2pm and it was very busy, there was people everywhere and to walk to one place to another would take time. I headed straight to Chinatown as I wanted to see the Lion Dance. A lot of people think it is a Dragon dance as the costume the dancers wear does look very much like a dragon. I have learnt that if there is two dancers performing it is a Lion Dance and if there are more than two this is a Dragon Dance and the dragon is a lot bigger. The Lion Dance is traditionally performed on Chinese New Year as it brings good luck The dancers perform a ceremony called ‘choi ching’ which roughly translates into ‘plucking green vegetables’. In this case a cabbage or lettuce. This ceremony brings good luck to businesses and houses the Lion visits. When watching this ceremony a number of the shops along Chinatown gave the Lion a cabbage. The amount of people that were really pushing forward to see this was unbelievable, it was suffocating! The dancers performed amazingly underneath the Lion costume and the Chinese drummers music really gave the entire street a great atmosphere. I loved it.
I then walked to Trafalgar Square where they had a big stage set up and the Finale that was going to happen at 5.30pm. It was a super cold day so I wrapped up warm. A big perimeter between Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Charing Cross was all closed for vehicles and available for pedestrians. This was great as it gave everyone a lot more space to walk through the crowds as there was a lot of people enjoying the celebrations. There was a lovely crowd in Trafalgar Square. People chatting and enjoying hot beverages awaiting the finale. As I arrived there was a Chinese choir singing and it sounded really angelic as I sipped on my hot chocolate. Within 20 minutes the finale had started! It was full of vibrant performances on stage and a light installation on Nelson’s column as fireworks went off. It was pretty magical. Chinese New Year was celebrated with a big bang in London and thousands of people got involved and enjoyed it A highlight for me was the light installation on Nelson’s Column that showed the Monkey King climbing up it, it was very funny!
I would recommend going to these free cultural events that are in London or in your Town or City as we learn so much about different people and cultures. I would like to thank Ambo Magic for taking some great photos for this post. Check out his website too. For those of you that celebrate Chinese New Year- Kung Hei Fat Choy! (I hope I have said that right).
Thank you so much for taking your time to read this post, as I have really enjoyed writing it. I will be doing a lot more posts of places I visit, when I am out and about. Let me know of you favourite place in and out of London and I can try and get myself there Comment below and let me know.