Chinese New Year starts today. The Year of the Monkey is upon us! Outside of Asia, London hosts the largest Chinese New Year festivities in the world. There’s a lot going on this week in celebration, so if you want to get into the spirit here’s A Lady in London’s guide to Chinese New Year events in London.
Chinese New Year in Chinatown
The most logical place to start your Chinese New Year celebrations is in Chinatown. Sandwiched between Leicester Square and Soho, it’s right in the heart of the city and decorated with a million red lanterns for the occasion. I’ve walked by a few times in the past week, and have loved seeing the sky full of color.
My favorite part of any celebration is food, and Chinese New Year has it in abundance. Chinatown’s restaurants do a busy trade during the period, so remember to book ahead if you plan to eat there. For a traditional lunar new year meal, make sure to have fish—which symbolizes abundance—a whole roast duck, and desserts like dumplings—traditional in the north of China—and clementines—auspicious fruits that bring luck and prosperity.
Chinese New Year in Trafalgar Square
On February 14th, the annual Chinese New Year parade in London will wind its way from Trafalgar Square to Chinatown as ten lion teams participate in one of the biggest lion dances in Europe. Throughout the day, dancers, acrobats, and dragons will perform in the square, and the grand finale will feature monkey dancers and pyrotechnics around Nelson’s Column.
Chinese New Year at Chiswick House
A different kind of Chinese New Year event in London is taking place at Chiswick House. The inaugural Magical Lantern Festival is on this month in the beautiful grounds. Hundreds of bright figures light up the night, and an Imperial Palace, Terracotta Army, and larger-than-life dragon are on display around the gardens. Stay tuned on the A Lady in London blog this week for more!
Chinese New Year Events in London’s Museums
The National Gallery and V&A Museum of Childhood are hosting family events for Chinese New Year, while the National Maritime Museum is celebrating British East Asian heritage with workshops, performances, and activities for families.
Chinese New Year at Home
If you really want to get into the Chinese New Year spirit, you can start at home. One tradition is to thoroughly clean your house to remove the old and welcome the new. But a more fun one is to decorate with red hanging lanterns and put on something red for good luck. Time to dig out those amazing heels!
What are your favorite Chinese New Year events in London?