You probably noticed all the Chinese New Year celebrations if you were in London this week. They started just yesterday as the official date of the Chinese New Year in 2015 was February 19. The real party begins this weekend though! Here’s all the cool events going down that you can’t miss:
Chinese New Year Events on Saturday:
The main events on Saturday are family-friendly happenings in museums. The National Maritime Museum will be hosting free workshops, performances and a lion dance. Just so you know: a lion dance is perfectly safe – it involves people dressed in Chinese Lion costumes dancing to traditional music. The UK’s largest Mandarin school, Harrow will have a number of events, games, singalongs and such put on by the students. Finally, in what is probably the coolest event of the day, the National Gallery is gathering handcraft artists of all ages to put together a giant puppet parade to go around the gallery.
If you don’t feel like getting anywhere near all the children that something like this would involve, you can always make up a program of your own. Wait until the crowds have had their lunch and go to China Town around 4 to eat as many Dim Sum as you can, for example. At night, why not hit the ultra-cool Courtesan, a bar like an opium-den in Brixton that also happens to be very affordable? Or get your friends together for a Karaoke night at Shanghai Blues.
On the same day, the National Maritime Museum will celebrate the occasion with a day of free workshops, performances and a traditional lion dance at its Greenwich site.
Chinese New Year Events on Sunday:
Sunday is the big day for this Chinese New Year in London.
The Grand Parade starts from Trafalgar Square at 10.15 in the morning and moves onto Shaftesbury Avenue. From Noon to 5, the stage set on Shaftesbury Avenue will see much of the day’s action: you can count on dancing children, Tai Chi, Cantopop, and many musical talents.
There will also be a stage on Trafalgar Square, where (I kid you not) speeches are scheduled to start at 12.03 – after the firecrackers! On that stage, you can watch “Dragon Eyes Dotting Ceremony” (where a dragon’s eyes are painted to make them a god according to about.com) plus Flying Lions and Dragon Dance. Various performances including suprise guests will be going on until 18.00
Bottom line is make sure you save some time this weekend to celebrate Chinese New Year in London. It’s one of those unique occasions that will really make you love how multicultural London can be!
We’ll be there…
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