According to visitlondon.com “London’s Chinese New Year celebrations are the largest outside Asia. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people descend on the West End to wish each other “Kung Hei Fat Choi” (or Happy New Year).”
London 2013: Year of the Snake
So with a write-up like that, I was expecting an epic event! The reality was a lot different. I braved a grey London in the rain, and headed to Trafalgar Square for the parade, but instead of hanging out here to watch the parade at the start, I headed towards Chinatown to get more of an authetic feel to the festivities, and watch the parade as it reached the end of its route. I found an apt spot near Shaftsbury Avenue – in front of the theatre showing “Singing in the Rain”.
Although there were a few Chinese Dragons and Dancers, the majority of the parade was decidedly non-chinese.
Celebrating the Year of the Snake were Morris Dancers, Brazilian Dancers, Essex girls in skimpy, but sparkley leotards, and the piece-de-resistence, a troop from Victorian-era London.
I’m not sure if they were from the cast of Mary Poppins, or left over from the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. Either way – good to see them recycled.
After watching the parade, I ambled through Chinatown – and then headed home to wamth and dry. My first Chinese New Year celebration in London, wasn’t quite what I anticipated – but kudos to all those performers who braved the rain, and danced through the streets of London with a smile on their face.
And well done to all the locals and tourists who lined the streets to watch them.
Here’s a calendar of the next cycle of Chinese New Years:
Video of the Chinese New Year Celebrations in London