Sunday 18th February 2018 will mark the arrival of the Year of the Dog in London, with thousands of people heading to the capital as it hosts the largest Chinese New Year Celebrations outside Asia.
The main celebrations on 18th February in London will run from 10am to 6pm, and all activities are free to attend. Festivities begin at 10am with a two-hour long Grand Parade featuring the largest gathering of over 50 Chinese Dragon and Lion teams performing the biggest festival dance in a public parade in Europe, through the streets, from Trafalgar Square, via London’s West End before reaching its final destination – Chinatown.
Stage performances will start at 12 noon in Trafalgar Square with firecrackers heralding the start of the New Year Celebrations. 2018 Chinese New Year Festival will feature TV personality and Fashion Stylist Gok Wan, as well as an array of exclusive performances on stage from China and the UK including, Chinese performing troupe, World Famous Chinese Soprano He Wu, acrobatics, traditional dances and a spectacular gravity-defying lion dance on a pair of high poles.
The Theme for the Celebration this year will be “Celebrating the Golden Era for UK-China Relations” and the finale will emphasise the friendship and beneficial collaboration between the two countries.
The Charing Cross Road stage this year has been designated as the new Talent & Community Zone, and will feature performances and activities from up-coming British Chinese talent and DJ’s from Spectrum Radio Chinese Programme to emphasise the thriving Contemporary Music Scene of the Chinese Community. The Family and Children Zone in Leicester Square has been extended to create a space for exciting interactive games, fun workshops and educational activities. The Martial Arts & Cultural Zone at Shaftesbury Avenue will showcase a diverse range of Chinese, East Asian and South East Asian Martial Arts. Chinatown itself will be the epicentre of the New Year Party as the Food & Cuisine Zone.
The area in and around Gerrard Street will be a hive of activities, with Lion Dances between 12pm to 6pm. Boasting more than 100 restaurants, guests will be able to sample the authentic and diverse regional Chinese and South East Asian cuisine in Europe. There will also be lots of festive stalls with traditional souvenirs and decorations
This year’s celebrations will mark the arrival of the Year of the Dog, the eleventh of the 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. Dogs are especially auspicious to the Chinese community as they symbolise the coming of fortune, those born in the year of the dog are friendly, sincere, loyal and dependable.
The Celebrations this year will take place all over London, with the London Eye presenting a spectacular light show for Chinese New Year and the National Gallery hosting a special Family Day on Saturday 17/02/2018. Details of other celebrations in London during the Chinese New Year period can be found on VisitLondon.com/China.
CT Tang, OBE, The Chair of London Chinatown Chinese Association, and Organiser, said: “with UK entering the golden era of friendship with China, Chinese New Year consolidates the sentiment with everyone joining in the Celebrations. Chinatown will continue to support the “Belt & Road Initiative”, which leads to closer partnership between the two countries”.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, says, “Chinese New Year is always a joyous time in the city’s cultural calendar. Trafalgar Square will be filled with brilliant live music, delicious food and great entertainment for all the family. The highlight of the celebrations is the spectacular lion’s parade, which makes its way from Chinatown, through to Trafalgar Square – where its eyes are dotted before it performs a gravity-defying dance. I hear this year’s performance will be more breathtaking than ever – I can’t wait to see it. “
He also explains, “Chinese New Year is also a time to celebrate with friends and family, reflect on the past year and look forward to the future. Over the past year, I have enjoyed meeting with members of London’s Chinese community as well as the many Chinese businesses around the capital and hope to visit China during my Mayoralty to strengthen economic and cultural ties with this great nation.”
Sadiq Khan says, “London is open to all people and all communities. That’s why I’m so proud of the Chinese New Year festivities here in the capital, which are the largest of their kind outside of China and entertain hundreds of thousands of Londoners from all communities, as well as visitors to our city.”