London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and one of the best things about living in the city is the myriad of cultural celebrations that Londoners have to enjoy. Given the multitude of nationalities living in the city, there is always something for Londoners to celebrate. However, even among the slew of national holidays and religious festivals, one cultural event stands out. London’s Chinese New Year Celebrations are the biggest event of their kind outside of China with countless events, festivals and a parade to wow revellers.
This particular Chinese New Year ushers in the Year of the Rat. But even if rodents are not your thing, there’s bound to be something amazing to do, as London once again plays host to a slew of events to mark this momentous occasion.
1 The Grand Parade
It’s the parade that everyone normally remembers. It’s choc a bloc full of amazing colour, vibrant dancing and flamboyant costumes. If truth be told, it sometimes feels like the whole of China is strutting around Central London, and while this may seem like an exaggeration, believe us when we say that the Grand Parade is absolutely not to be missed.
It begins just to the north of Trafalgar Square at 10am with the event ending at 11.45am at the top of Rupert Street (Shaftesbury Avenue).
The website for the event is promising the “largest gathering of Chinese Lions and Dragons in Europe, as well as traditional hand-crafted floats given to London Chinatown by the People’s Republic of China”.
2 China in the Square
The Main Celebration Zone will begin at 11am with a massive outdoor screen in the centre of the square showing a Thanksgiving Ceremony. The ceremony will mark the beginning of the Year of the Rat. Following that from 12pm will be the real beginning of the event with a dazzling array of events including traditional Chinese dances, acrobatics, magic, Mongolian bowed string performances, an “award winning 6-member
Acappella group” and Kala Chng – who has been described by the Guardian as “Kate Bush meets a Chinese Lady Gaga”.
3 Food & Cuisine Zone
This will kick off at the same time as the China In The Square event at 12pm. Spanning the whole of Chinatown, the Food & Cuisine Zone will see a range of special Festive menus at selected restaurants. There will also be a variety of special entertainments throughout the day, with Chinese Lions dancing on Gerrard Street, Wardour Street, Lisle Street, Newport Place and Shaftesbury Avenue.
4 Talent & Community Zone
Meanwhile, Shaftesbury Avenue will host a music & variety show showcasing a selection of the emerging talent coming out of the UK and Asia. Amongst others the show will feature: the London Chinese Community Centre, M9teen, Mat & Min, Jace Neosh Calligraphy, Simon Wong and YenHsiang Tang.
5 Martial Arts & Cultural Zone
Ok, I guess this is where all the cool kids will want to be. The Martial Arts & Cultural Zone will be located on Charing Cross Road, where it will host a series of exciting demonstrations and workshops.
6 FAMILY ZONE
And this is where the Kids Of All Ages will want to be. The Family Zone will be in Leicester Square boasting a range of “colourful and fun shows” suitable for children.
Information on other outdoor parades and festivals in the city can be found here.
London’s Chinese New Year celebrations will take place on Sunday the 14th of February 2021. More information about the event can be found here.