It's Chinese New Year: join in the year of the snake celebrations!

Chinese New Year celebrations in LondonKung Hei Fat Choi stands for Happy New Year in Chinese, and every year hundreds of thousands of people descend into London’s West End to wish each other a Happy Chinese New Year.

London’s celebrations are renowned for being the largest outside of Asia, offering people a taste of Chinese culture including a gravity defying lion dance, fireworks, Chinese nourishment, and an array of professional performances. The UK will commemorate the Year of the Snake, which focusses on action, change, innovation and achievement.

After a New Year’s parade around the West End, the celebration will officially start with a traditional Eye dotting ceremony, which will take place midday in Trafalgar Square. Dignitaries will include the Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiao Ming and the Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture Munira Mirza. A spectacular firecracker display will signify the start of the Chinese celebrations with music, dance and acrobatics.

Chinatown will be the centre of the New Year party, and the area will be overflowing with crowds, but there will be lots of activity including food and craft stalls that will line the streets, along with a lion dance that will meander through the public, stopping at restaurants and stores with the will to wish them good luck for the year.

For the Chinese communities in London and across the world, the Chinese New Year is a huge and very important festival for their culture. The festival is based on the lunar and solar calendars and each year the Chinese calendar is represented by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

On 10th February at 10am the parade will begin in Trafalgar Square and the colourful floats and beating of the drums can be followed through Chinatown ending in Rupert Street at 11am. At 12pm on the main stage in Trafalgar Square the Ambassador and the Deputy Mayor will commence the Dotting of the Eye ceremony. Between 1pm and 5:30pm live performances from Hong Kong singer-songwriter Emmy The Great and a breath-taking performance by the famous Chen Brothers will entertain the crowds. Paul Potts and performers from the Guangdong and Sichuan Provinces will also be a part of the line-up for live entertainment. Finally at 5:55pm a dazzling firework display will signify the end of the day’s celebrations.

Whatever time you come, whatever you buy, you can be assured that you will be entertained by the festivities, but after a packed schedule why not properly wind down with one of DUKES’ world-famous martinis over in our stunning Bar?

Below you can see the highlights of last year’s event:

Image courtesy of Paul