Photography by Chrystal Ding
On Sunday, London hosted the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside China. Starting with a grand parade, the celebrations covered an area of 30 acres in the centre of London and some 3km of roads in the West End and Leicester Square.
Lion dancers visited some of the 17 local restaurants in Chinatown, while musicians and acrobats entertained crowds on the main stage in Trafalgar Square. These included the Beijing Young Cultural Ambassadors – a primary school wind ensemble who performed Auld Lang Syne in front of a crowd of thousands – and the Chongqing Chuanju Theatre company, who performed a comedy in Sichuanese-style Chinese opera involving an angry wife, her hedonistic husband, and the punishment of carrying a candle on his head around a series of obstacles that could only be overcome by impressive feats of contortion and balance.
Throughout the day the streets sizzled with the sound of firecrackers, and many restaurants were running pop-up outdoor buffets to cater for the crowds.
The finale consisted of a stage performance reminiscent of CCTV’s annual TV broadcast of the Spring Festival Gala featuring a medley of music, acrobatics, light shows, fireworks, and an animated monkey scaling Nelson’s Column to round off the celebrations and welcome in the Year of the Monkey.
Chrystal Ding is a Chinese-British freelance photojournalist who currently works in London. She was born in Harbin in north-eastern China, and moved to the UK when she was 3. She studied English at Cambridge, and has photographed in Australia, China, and Mongolia, and most recently for The Telegraph online. She is currently doing a project called 52 weeks on assignment.
To see more of her work, visit: www.chrystalding.com.