This weekend (Sunday 22 February), London is set to welcome Chinese New Year, the Year of the Sheep – with the biggest celebrations outside of Asia, attracting over 400,000 people every year.
This year’s celebrations will be hosted by the British Chinese actress Jing Lusi, of Holby City fame and Amy Herzog’s award winning play 4000 Miles. Supported by The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “London is one of the most exciting places in the world to celebrate Chinese New Year, hosting one of the biggest celebrations outside China. This year we are marking the Year of the Sheep, an animal said to symbolise peace and harmonious co-existence. In our diverse city, with people from every culture and background living side by side, such qualities make a huge difference in helping to promote a spirit of mutual respect and friendship. As Londoners we are proud to welcome Chinese New Year and celebrate the contribution that the Chinese community makes to the cultural and economic life of our city. Gong Xi Fa Cai. Kung Hei Fat Choy.”
Chinatown (www.chinatownlondon.org) will be a hive of activity as a lion and dragon dance makes its way through the area, stopping by restaurants to wish the owners good luck for the coming year. There will also be traditional craft stalls and food stands for visitors to enjoy over 17 cuisines from across Asia and Chinese Zodiac Animals brining the Lunar calendar symbols to life. Chinatown’s stage will also play host to performances from a range of local performers and up-and coming talent such as martial arts groups and Canto pop and K-pop.
Many of Chinatown’s restaurants will be offering special Chinese New Year dishes including Golden Phoenix who specialise in Cantonese cuisine, but also provide authentic Szechuan and Malaysia cuisine to suit every palate. To enjoy the celebrations in a more relaxed environment try one of London’s hidden gems, Opium Cocktail and Dim Sum Parlour on Gerrard Street. Behind their mysterious jade door you will discover a world of oriental eclecticism which brings the unique flavour of Chinatown inside, and blends it with London’s cocktail culture. There are over 80 restaurants in Chinatown offering a diverse range of cuisines with everything from traditional Hong Kong street food to modern Chinese fusion from Shanghai and Beijing.
Accreditation to interview and photograph performers on the day is available through the Chinatown team.
Highlights of the day:
10am: Parade begins North of Trafalgar Square, ending on Shaftesbury Avenue
12-1pm: Dragon and Lion Dance performance at the Trafalgar Square Stage
12-5pm: Lion Dances throughout Chinatown
13:30: Cultures of China – Festival of Spring performance
15:30: Red Poppy Ladies Percussions Group performance
5pm-6pm: Finale on Trafalgar Square Stage
Full programme of performances, map and high res images are available.
Instagram: Chinatown London
TRAFALGAR SQUARE STAGE
8:45 Press Accreditation (in front of National Gallery)
10:15 Parade commences North of Trafalgar Square, ending on Shaftesbury Avenue (top of Rupert Street) in Chinatown
11:15 Thanksgiving ceremony
Mr. CT Tang OBE, LCCA Chairman & President
His Exc. Liu Xiaoming, Chinese Ambassador to the UK
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh
Lord Mayor of Westminster
Leader of Westminster City Council
Mr. Mark Field MP
12:30 Dragon Eyes Dotting Ceremony
13:00 Flying Lion dance and Dragon dance
13:30 Cultures of China/ Festival of Spring – Variety Performances
15:00 British Chinese artists – Ruth Chan, Julia Cheng
15:30 Red Poppy Ladies Percussion Group
16:30 British Chinese artists – Quang Kien Van, Andy Leung
17:00 To be announced
SHAFTESBURY AVENUE STAGE
12:00 Cultural performance from Chinese Community Centre
Tae Kwon Do by children’s group, Chinese Orchestra, Tai Chi Dance
13:30 Stage Show Presented by Spectrum Radio, Chinese Youth Radio.
Lucky Money God, Canto pop and K-pop, Martial arts display and Dance
14:30 Speech by Erica Ng, Director General of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
15:00 British Chinese Project Presents CNY Musical
16:00 Showcase of British Chinese music talent by s-k-i records
LEICESTER SQUARE PERFORMANCE HUB
13:00 – 16:00 Cultural Performance by Chinese Community Centre
CHARING CROSS RD PERFORMANCE HUBS
13:00 – 16:00
Cultural Performance by Marco Polo Academy,
Story Telling by True Heart Theatre TBC
Martial Arts performances by JASMA
12.00 -17:00 Lion Dances
12:00 -16:00 Photo Opportunities with Chinese Zodiac Animals