Ring in the Chinese New Year in London

The lunar based Chinese New Year is the most important event in the Chinese calendar, and is celebrated around the world.

The lively capital of London enjoys the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia. Visitors to the city will be able to discover more about this fantastic festival in a range of special events.

New Year Traditions

Chinese New Year is based on the lunar New Year, and is celebrated by Chinese communities everywhere. Each New Year marks the start of the new Chinese calendar, represented by one of the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals. From the start of New Year to the brightest day of the lunar month, normally the fifteenth, special traditions are observed.

Houses are cleaned to remove bad luck, and decorated with paper scrolls offering good luck. Chinese families gather together on the eve of Chinese New Year to share the most important meal of the year. Depending on the region of China they are from, the food could include special fish, dumplings, or sticky rice dishes.

Fireworks form an important part of the Chinese New Year, and are set off just after midnight on the night of the New Year to drive away evil.

The colour red is powerful and positive in Chinese tradition as it symbolises fire, which will scare away evil spirits. Traditionally, adults give children ‘red packets’ at Chinese New Year. These packets are red envelopes with money and sweets inside them, to wish children health and a long life.

The Chinese New Year festivities usually end with a lantern festival, in which glowing paper lanterns are hung or carried by people in the moonlight.

Year Of The Horse

In 2014 the Chinese New Year falls on 31 January, and this year Chinese communities will celebrate the Year of the Horse. Those born in the year of the horse are said to be clever and kind, animated and popular, and make good friends.

London’s Chinese New Year celebrations in 2013 attracted around half a million people, and 2014 should be just as popular. The Year of the Horse is set to be celebrated in style in the capital with a series of great events taking place.

Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and Shaftesbury Avenue will be the main locations for the festivities, which take place on 02 February 2014. The day starts at 10am with a parade along Shaftesbury Avenue, and then visitors to Trafalgar Square can enjoy a variety of Chinese artists performing on stage. There will be traditional food to eat, Chinese craft to purchase, and more performances to enjoy in the area. We recommend you take a trip to Chinatown and sample the best Asian cuisine around in one of the area’s many restaurants.

Visitors to London celebrating the Chinese New Year should also head to Madame Tussauds for a close encounter with 2 famous Chinese stars. Amazing wax versions of martial arts legends Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan will travel from Hong Kong to London especially for the holiday. On 01 February the outside of this popular London attraction will also be lit in lucky red to celebrate the Year of the Horse. Inside, people can pose with the models of Chan and Lee, enjoy traditional decorations and music, and watch performances of the famous Chinese Lion Dance.

Visitors can learn more about the rich history of China at some of London’s top museums. The Victoria and Albert Museum hosts the digital installation ‘Masterpieces of Chinese Painting: Digital Dragons’ until 16 March. Here, visitors can step ‘in’ to Chinese scrolls, and interact with the people, creatures and landscapes within. The Museum also features many objects from Chinese past, with galleries dedicated to Chinese art and sculpture.

The British Museum is also a fantastic place to visit to learn more about Chinese history, and has special galleries on Chinese objects. Visitors can see different uses of Chinese jade, admire hundreds of Chinese ceramics, and explore objects in the China, South Asia and Southeast Asia gallery.

Our comfortable Park Inn Hotel & Conference Centre, London Heathrow is the perfect place to relax after enjoying the Chinese New Year celebrations in London.

Have you ever celebrated the Chinese New Year?