With more than 100 bars, restaurants and stalls partaking in the festivities, London hosts the biggest Chinese New Year celebration outside of Asia. More than 1,000 volunteers participate in Chinatown alone, which includes a parade that starts in Duncan Street and ends in Trafalgar Square. But the celebrations don’t stop there. Throughout the rest of February the whole area will be buzzing with Eastern traditions.
This year marks the end of the “year of the horse” and makes way for the “year of the goat”, which signifies peace, art and a resistance to change. More than one in six people from all over the world will celebrate, making it one of the biggest events of the year 4,713 (2015).
The Four Seasons is famous for its Cantonese-style roast duck, which it proudly displays in its front window on Wardour Street. During the Chinese New Year there’s no better place to enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine. From succulent pork belly to savoury seafood, there are literally hundreds of dishes on the menu, all of which are simple and good value for money. The Four Seasons on Wardour Street is open daily until 4am, making it perfect for a late night meal if you’re out and about in Central London.
Trafalgar Square Parade
This year’s parade took place on the 19th February and was one of the biggest yet. Dragon dancers, fire breathers and a whole host of other entertainers lined the streets and weaved amongst onlookers as they made their way from Chinatown to Trafalgar Square. A number of musical performances followed. Over 100,000 people from across the UK attended the event, so if you missed it make sure you’re one of them in 2016.
One of the most anticipated events of the year is the secret art exhibition at the Horniman Museum by Aowen Jin. The event celebrates both contemporary and traditional culture and will contain Western inspired Chinese ribbon dances and live performances to compliment artistic works. During the evenings of the exhibition the cocktail bar will serve Chinese drinks and street food up on the roof terrace.
Every year the Cutty Sark hosts a family workshop on the Chinese New Year. This year’s event was more popular than ever as children partook in lantern and dragon mask craft building activities, while learning about trade between the East and the West through a series of educational short stories. If you’ve got kids and would rather have a little family fun, consider visiting this Greenwich hotspot next year.
Wing Chun Demonstration
Famed by the late Bruce Lee, wing chun is one of the most well-known Chinese martial arts. There are plenty of wing chun clubs throughout London, many of which will be celebrating Chinese culture by putting on performances for the public. If you’d like to get stuck in feel free to attend a club; a good sifu will welcome you with open arms.
Every year hundreds of thousands of people flock to the West End to experience this huge celebration. Although you may have missed the parade, plenty of establishments are still making the most out of this wonderful time of the year, so it’s not too late! If, however, you’d like to start making plans for next year, perhaps the London Helicopter would be a suitable option?
Image Credit (Creative Commons): Paul