London welcomes the Year of the Dragon

By Iraz Akkus

On 10 February Lunar New Year celebrations will commence, marking the end of the year of the Water Rabbit and welcoming the year of the Wood Dragon. The celebrations will go ahead on Sunday 11 February, organised by the London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA). 

Starting as a small community event run by the LCCA, in the last two decades London’s Chinese New Years celebrations have become a popular calendar event, attracting thousands of people every year to the displays. 

On the day, one can expect to see the annual Chinese New Year parade which is set to begin in Charing Cross Road and make its way through Shaftesbury Avenue in Chinatown. During the parade, colourful floats, with more than 50 teams taking part, firecrackers, speeches, and the Lions’ Eye-Dotting ceremony will take place.

Chinatown spearheads the hotspot for colourful decorations and festive mood. It is also the perfect location to try some authentic Chinese New Year meals and festive food. When attending, red is traditionally worn as this is considered the key colour of the Lunar Year and is believed to bring good luck for the following year. 

Across various locations in central London, such as Trafalgar Square, there are further stage performances planned. This is expected to include traditional dragon and flying lion dances, with vibrant displays of Chinese dancing, martial arts displays and music shows. 

In previous years, Shaftesbury Avenue has hosted a talent and community zone where up-and-coming British Chinese artists have a platform to perform, ranging from music to comedy. Leicester Square also becomes an interactive creative space where traditional activities like calligraphy, Chinese music and trying on traditional outfits are planned. 

Other events taking place to keep in mind to celebrate the occasion or learn about the significance of the Chinese New Year will be happening across London. Some popular places include the Science Museum in South Kensington which will display a one-off exhibition on the history of timekeeping with New Years arts and crafts and dances. 

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich will be hosting a free day of Lunar New Year celebrations, offering activities such as hat and fan making workshops, Taiwanese ribbon dance and Korean harp performances, on February 3.

Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Andrew Smith, comments that “it is a great opportunity for the Chinese people and other people to celebrate the festivities”.

Photograph from Pexels

Iraz reports on the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations in London


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