How To Celebrate Chinese New Year In London

23rd January 2017 Gemma Curtis London Life, News and Events

This January 28th will begin the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Rooster. It is the biggest celebration in the Chinese calendar and often warrants huge parades, displays and events all over the country. But what can you do to celebrate in London? We pulled together the best ways for you to choose from.

Chinese new year performers


The biggest and most obvious way to really celebrate is to attend the annual Chinese New Year parade. This will begin at 10am on Sunday 29th January, setting off from Trafalgar Square and heading up to Chinatown. There will be various performances from dancing and acrobatics to traditional martial arts. A larger stage on Shaftesbury Avenue will host a range of up and coming artists, so make sure to visit if you’re into new music.

This event tends to get extremely busy but is a great way to see London in a different light. There is always a fabulous party atmosphere and you’ll be sure to have a brilliant time at the parade. The walk will also take you past craft stalls and Chinese food stands and many of the local restaurants will be offering special menus for the occasion. Why not go along and try something new, or a taste of home for the Chinese community!

Be sure to head back to Trafalgar Square to catch the spectacular fireworks show. Nothing says celebration like fireworks, and the Chinese New Year parade closure is one not to miss.

Chinese calligraphy


For something a bit more arty, the V&A Museum of Childhood are hosting a day of celebrations on Saturday 11th February which will include traditional and modern dance performances and also instrumentals. The day will then include workshops in mask making, costume making and calligraphy. It’s not just for the children and could be a huge source of inspiration for those studying degrees within the arts sector or just a really fun afternoon for those interested in the culture.

The Chinese New Year Culture Bazaar will be held at House of Phoenix on Saturday 4th February and will include different artistic workshops for a fantastic insight into the Chinese culture. These include dance, music, martial arts, calligraphy and even the chance to learn how to make your own dim sum! There will also be a beautiful display of traditional Chinese lanterns for you to view at the front of the venue.

Chinese lantern


If you want to see more lanterns, there’s a whole festival dedicated to them at Chiswick House with the Magical Lantern Festival. Running from 19th January to 26th February, this year’s theme is the ‘Ancient Silk Road’ which follows through Europe, Egypt, Persia, India and China. As this is a celebration of the Chinese New Year of the Rooster, a lot of the lanterns will be inspired by China, including a life-size replica of the ship that Admiral Zheng used on his explorations and traditional Chinese dragons.

Chinatown London

Tips for celebrating

As well as having a lot of fun, it’s handy to know these tips in order to maximise your Year of the Rooster:

  • Wear red– this will bring good luck for the coming year. Also buying something red will bring luck, so pick up a souvenir from the day such as a paper lantern.
  • Plan ahead– if you want to go for a meal or drinks, make sure you book a table. It’s going to get really busy!
  • Wish people ‘Happy new year’– in Cantonese it’s ‘San Nin Faai Lok’ (pronounced san knee fy lock) and in Mandarin is ‘Xin Nian Kuai Le’ (pronounced sing nee-ann koo-why ler).

How will you be celebrating Chinese New Year? Let us know in the comments!

Gemma Curtis

Gemma Curtis

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