Chinese New Year is the pinnacle celebration across Asia bringing in the New Year on 31 January, according to the Chinese calendar. In London we don’t do things by halves and our Chinese New Year celebrations are the biggest outside of Asia. Every year hundreds of thousands of people descend on the West End to wish each other ‘Kung Hei Fat Choy’ (or Happy New Year).
This year is ‘The Year of the Horse’ and celebrations will be lighting up London on Sunday 2 February. You won’t want to miss them. Trafalgar Square, China Town and Shaftesbury Avenue will be brought to life with a dazzling display of music, light and colour as the event kicks off with a parade down Charing Cross Road from 10am. The main stage in Trafalgar Square will feature visiting artists from China, and there will also be lion teams circulating around Chinatown, local artists performing on a stage at the end of Dean Street and traditional food and craft stalls.
Here are our Top 5 events to keep you entertained over the Chinese New Year:
1) HIT THE PARADES
As we mentioned above, the 2 February will see central London transformed into a spectacle of traditional Asian entertainment that will dazzle your senses. Delight your kids with a tour along Shaftesbury Avenue and get a good spot for the parade!
It wouldn’t be a celebration without decorations, and for Chinese New Year it’s traditional to give your home a lift with beautiful symbolic flowers. The sunflower will symbolise good luck for the year ahead, the kumquat symbolizes prosperity and the eggplant is said to ward off sickness. Pick them up at your local market.
3) DINNER AT MIN JIANG
Treat yourself this Chinese New Year with a delicious dinner at one of London’s finest Chinese restaurants, located on the tenth floor of the Royal Garden Hotel. Take in stunning panoramic views of London and feast on delicacies such as ‘Wood-fired Beijing Duck’, ‘Tobiko Caviar’ and ‘Blue Swimmer Crab’. Head towww.minjiang.co.uk to book.
4) GO TO CHINATOWN
Chinatown will be brimming with excitement and colour this Chinese New Year and there’s no better place to fully immerse yourself in the culture. The decorations are simply stunning so make sure you take a stroll, grab some street food and take your camera, as there will be plenty of picture perfect opportunities.
5) GIVE YOUR KITCHEN AN ASIAN TWIST
Do your food shopping at one of the traditional Chinese supermarkets ‘Wing Yip’, ‘Loon Fung’ or ‘See Woo’, and bring a taste of the Orient into your own kitchen. Impress your friends with your very own Chinese New Year dinner party.
JASON LI is the Business Development Manager for China & South East Asia at the Royal Garden Hotel. Jason grew up in Shanghai and came to the UK to study in 1993 for a master’s degree in International Hotel Management, before working for some of London’s most iconic establishments such as Hakkasan, The Dorchester and Min Jiang. In this post he gives us some tips to live the authentic Chinese New Year celebration here in London.