What do dragons, fireworks, lanterns, stalls, food, dance and music have in common? Why….London and the Chinese New Year of course!
London is a vibrant, bustling, thriving, multi-cultural city, playing host to citizens from around the world who choose to settle here and add their cultural energy to the mix. It is one of the things that make London such a fascinating city to visit.
Not far and an easy walk from either Leicester Square, Soho or Covent Gardens is the vibrant albeit small community of China Town where you can enjoy the sounds, smells and a taste of this fascinating culture. Each year round about the Chinese New Year the area comes alive with joyous singing, dancing and music to celebrate this auspicious time of the year.
Chinese New Year in Central London for 2011 will find Trafalgar Square hosting traditional and contemporary Chinese entertainment such as dance, music and acrobatics as well as firecrackers.
Chinatown will be bustling with special decorations, stalls, food and lion dance displays while Shaftesbury Avenue will play host to a local performance stage featuring performances by Chinese artists.
The major celebrations in Central London; Trafalgar Square and Chinatown, are the largest outside Asia, and entry is free to the 2011 Chinese New Year celebrations.
Chinese New Year 2011, the Year of the Rabbit, falls on 3 February. And London’s main celebrations will be held on Sunday 6 February.
Reference from wikipedia:
Chinese New Year – often called Chinese Lunar New Year although it actually is lunisolar – is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. Despite its winter occurrence, in China it is known as “Spring Festival,” the literal translation of the Chinese name ?? (Pinyin: Ch?n Jié), owing to the difference between Western and traditional Chinese methods for computing the seasons. The festival begins on the first day of the first month (Chinese: ??; pinyin: Zh?ng Yuè) in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day. Chinese New Year’s Eve, a day where Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner, is known as Chú X? (??) or “Eve of the Passing Year.”
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese Lunisolar Calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most.
Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese new year vary widely. People will pour out their money to buy presents, decoration, material, food, and clothing. It is also the tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will include such items as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is a great way to reconcile; forgetting all grudges, and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.
Although the Chinese calendar traditionally does not use continuously numbered years, outside China its years are often numbered from the reign of the Yellow Emperor, Huangdi. But at least three different years numbered 1 are now used by various scholars, making the year 2011 “Chinese Year” 4709, 4708, or 4648.
When: Sunday 6th February 2011 from 12midday
Where: Central London – Chinatown; Trafalgar Square; Shaftesbury Avenue
Nearest tube stations: Leicester Square, Covent Gardens, Charing Cross, or walk from pretty much anywhere near these places