Chinese New Year in London: 2015 – Year of the Sheep

London is a place where multicultural diversity is something you will find at almost every corner and , of course, the Chinese community plays a big part in this.  Because of that, the metropolis celebrates every year the Chinese New Year, as a sign of gratitude towards cultural integration.

Policemen opening the parade, making sure everything is secure.

                                  Policemen opening the parade, making sure everything is secure.

Having spent a couple of years already in London, I have myself attended last year’s and this year’s parade that took place from Trafalgar Square towards Leicester Square and my eyes were delighted by the magnitude of commitment and seriousness towards this events.

Every measures have been taken to ensure that the parade will run smoothly and that the celebrations will take place in an environment where everybody enjoys themselves.

For those who are not very familiar with this parade, I invite you to check out my last year’s post here where I have explained more about it.

Although the warmth of the weather was not very generous, I have enjoyed my time in Leicester Square and managed to talk to a few people as well about their perspective on the celebration. Many have welcomed it with pleasure and others have attended it for the first time!

People from different cultural backgrounds, waiting for the parade to start.

                     People from different cultural backgrounds, waiting for the parade to start.

Marie, from Germany, currently studying said:

It was an unique experience! Life is London is very different and I love how welcoming everybody is towards the expression of different cultures.

On the other hand, Vlad, engineer from Bulgaria, added:

 It is very important for people to understand that Europe and Asia can come together in this kind of projects in order to support togetherness. For many years now, Leicester Square has become the home for China Town in London and everybody just loves it!

And because the celebration couldn’t be complete without some natives talking about their experience, I managed to have a chat with two lovely girls, both of them studying and working in London, that have come a long way from home.

Chyou is 25 years old and she is from Shanghai. She graduated as a Photographer in China and now she’s undertaking English classes in order to fit better in the London community.

The fact that there is a parade for the Chinese New Year in London means a lot for me. It brings me closer to home and it helps me feel just a little more close to my family. I am the only one from my family here, so, celebrating with Londoners becomes something very soothing.

The day I arrived in London for the first time was just one day away from the first parade I attended. It made me feel less homesick. It is indeed beautiful.

Jiao Lan is 19 years old and she’s a first year student in London. She has just recently moved here and her experience was more emotional.

At first, I didn’t want to go. Most of my Chinese friends live in the area, while I live in North London. I don’t live with a Chinese community, thing that makes me sometimes sad, so attending the parade would’ve made me just homesick. I have to confess, the fact that I actually let my friends to drag me here was a good idea. It not only made me feel more connected to people, but I felt like being at home. People were singing and dancing and enjoying every moment of it.

It was just another proof that London can make you feel at home at any time.

Indeed, for people from abroad, traditional experiences can make them feel more homesick, but it can also make them feel like they belong somewhere and are welcomed.

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As an international student myself, the parade was a moment for joy and enjoyment with my friends, another modality of understanding different cultures!

新年快樂!

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Chinese New Year is organised by London Chinatown Chinese Association and supported by the Mayor of London and Westminster City Council.

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London Parade welcomes the Chinese New Year of the Horse!

The Chinese New Year is the longest and the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. This year, the Chinese calendar celebrates 4712 years of existence and the animal that is attributed to it, is the horse.

This year, I chose to attend the New Year’s Parade downtown, on Sunday February 2, mostly because I’ve never been to something similar and also because I like the Chinese culture.

Thousands of people gathered in Central London to welcome warmly the event, and nonetheless, they were gifted with surprising acts. At 10 A.M a parade through the West End headed for Trafalgar Square, where the traditional opening ceremony took place on the main stage at noon. It was followed by an afternoon full of Chinese event including a gravity-defying lion dance performed atop high poles.

The parade in Leicester Square started off with a traditional dragon dance, followed then by floats and beating drums, in an explosion of colours, which brought to life the entire celebration.

Little girls and boys were dancing dressed up in traditional Chinese costumes, and even a Flying Lion Dance Performance was set up for the delight of the audience.

Chinatown became lively and active.

New Year-themed decorations, special menus and events at its 100-odd restaurants, bars, cafes and shops and all sort of food and craft stalls were empowering the streets.

Even little children were dressed up in traditional costumes and playing with funny crackers, and the performances last throughout the entire day, in order to welcome properly the New Year.

London definitely knows how to bring Asian culture to life and how to celebrate it in a lovely way!

农历新年



 

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