Top: Dragon dancers take to the streets; above: Sadiq Khan addresses the crowd. Photos: Jon Mo
Published: 3 February, 2017
by Alina Polianskaya
DRAGON and lion dancers paraded through the streets of London on Sunday as thousands turned out to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year.
The festivities spread through Chinatown and beyond, bringing in the Year of the Rooster with an extravaganza of music, dancing, food and more, embracing the best of Chinese culture.
There were performances across a number of stages – including the Hong Kong Stage in Charing Cross Road, the Family Stage in Shaftesbury Avenue and the main stage in Trafalgar Square. The celebrations, organised by the London Chinese Chinatown Association, were some of the biggest yet.
This year’s theme of past and present embraced modern China, giving younger performers a chance to shine, as well as embracing traditional elements. Highlights included a martial arts show by Shaolin monks, contemporary Chinese rock singing from Su Zixu and stellar beats by the Hong Kong Drum Ensemble.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who spoke at the celebrations, wished all those celebrating “good health, prosperity and happiness”.
He said: “Let us celebrate the many contributions of London’s Chinese community which enrich our lives in this city.
“London’s Chinatown is famous for its wonderful delicacies, atmosphere and vibrant business community – it is great to see this amazing corner of our city at its best for the annual New Year celebrations. With the spectacular lion’s parade making its way from Chinatown to the heart of the capital at Trafalgar Square, live music, the best of Chinese dance, entertainment, markets and family workshops, there is something for everyone and the event is the ultimate showcase of Chinese culture.
“London is open to all people and all communities – we don’t just tolerate each other’s differences, we respect and embrace them. Nowhere is this more apparent than in London’s celebration of Chinese New Year. I’m proud that the festivities here in the capital are the largest of their kind outside of China, entertaining hundreds of thousands of Londoners from all communities, as well as visitors to our city.”