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Traditional Celebrations for the Chinese New Year in London

2012 is a big year for London. To kick it all off the first celebration of the year will be the Chinese New Year. Although the actual new year is on January 24, the main festival in London will be on Sunday January 29th 2012. They take place in 3 locations this year, these being Chinatown (Soho), Shaftsbury Avenue and Trafalgar Square. There will performances by local Chinese artists and of course the traditional dances. These should be all the more spectacular as it is the year of the Dragon in 2012. This animal is held in very high esteem by the community.

Main Events 2012

  • 10am the Chinese New Year parade with all its spectacular costumes and colour takes place in and around the West End. It is planned to end in Trafalgar Square at midday.
  • Trafalgar Square - at 12 midday the celebration are officially opened by the Mayor and Chinese delegates.
  • After this until 6pm the main stage will have entertainers and the traditional Dragon dances will take place
  • Shaftsbury Avenue - the second stage here will have local acts performing from 12 to 6pm
  • Chinatown - Lion dances will take place throughout the area which will be adorned with decorations and the lucky colour red. There will also be a number of special stalls that have been set up to get you into the festive spirit.

History of Chinese New Year in London

London has a world wide reputation for its splendid and diverse cultures. One of the most spectacular, cultural and yearly events, that takes place in Chinatown in London, is the Chinese New Year.

The date of the New Year changes as it is not determined by the western calendar. The Chinese calendar, is based on the cycles of the moon and sun. The actual day for New Year is the second new moon, after the winter solstice has taken place (unless there is an intercalary month, as in; February 29 is an intercalary day; leap years are intercalary years; the Chinese calendar has intercalary months.)

First Major London Festival of the Year

Every year there is a host of celebrations that take place all over the city. This is the first major London festival of the year. The Mayor of London has granted funding and the free use of Trafalgar Square to the London Chinese Chinatown Association who will be running events. The main event will take place in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 6 February 2011. Other events and markets will take place in Leicester Square, Chinatown itself, Shaftsbury Avenue and the surrounding areas in Soho.

Main Events in 2011

  • Trafalgar Square - from 12 midday until 6pm the main stage will have traditional performances from acts around the country and special guest acts invited from China.
  • Chinatown - throughout the day lions will be dancing through the streets bringing good fortune to the local businesses they visit.
  • Shaftsbury Avenue - the stage here will have local acts performing from 12 to 6pm

There are a number of stunning events that are not to be missed. Traditionally, in Trafalgar Square, the celebrations manifest themselves with the incredible Lion Dances. As well as all of this there will be a host of other contemporary and traditional entertainment on display in theatres and on the streets of London. The Events come to a climax with the most amazing Lantern Festival on the 15th day. The Chinese New Year has been celebrated in England for some time now. Even if you don't celebrate it, you will know something about it. The largest and most frequented celebrations are in London. They take place at several locations officially and there are also many unofficial celebrations.

If you are thinking about joining us the only recourse is to book your hotel as early as possible. Hotels in the West End of London will fill up fast as the party gets going. Events will be taking place all over the city.

2010 saw a quarter of a million visitors to the city enjoy events and the spectacular lion dances.

In 2007, the celebrations will incorporate a spectacular parade that moved around Soho. Starting along the Strand, moving into Charing Cross Road and finally down Shaftesbury Avenue to Piccadilly circus. The parade started at 11am on the Strand itself.

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