This year, Chinese New Year falls on Friday 16th February and will mark the Year of the Dog.
Each zodiac sign in Chinese culture is also associated with an element, making 2018 the ‘Year of the Earth Dog’.
London hosts the biggest celebration of Chinese New Year outside of Asia, with hundreds of thousands of people joining in on the festivities each year. The main Chinese New Year festivities are planned to take place in London on 18th February.
You can find out more about the events in London and Chinese New Year itself by watching the below video guide created by the Berkeley Group.
Chinese New Year London events
The Chinese New Year events in London are planned to take place across the West End, Chinatown and Trafalgar Square.
- The free Chinese New Year Parade starts at 10am with a dragon and lion dance in Charing Cross Road, before moving through Chinatown
- Trafalgar Square at 12pm hosts the main stage performances, this area is also where the light show at the end of the festivities happens
- Street food is available at Trafalgar Square, or you can visit one of the many restaurants in Chinatown
- There will be a family zone area at Leicester Square hosting a range of family friendly performances and activities
- Up-and-coming British-Chinese artists will perform on the New Talent Stage in the Charing Cross Road community zone, hosted by Spectrum Chinese radio
- Visit Shaftesbury Avenue to enjoy martial art performances at the martial arts and culture zone
- More lion dances and craft stalls will take place throughout the day in Chinatown
Interesting facts about Chinese New Year
New Year festivities in China take place over a 15-day celebration at the turn of the lunisolar Chinese Calendar. The events include firework displays, lion dances, as well as a Lantern Festival which is hosted on the 15th day. Many dragons can also be spotted at Chinese New Year events, Chinese people often consider themselves to be ‘the descendants of the dragon’, which is why these creatures appear so often in cultural celebrations.
There are ‘7 lucky foods’ to eat during Chinese New Year, including; noodles, dumplings and spring rolls, Tangyuan (sweet rice balls), Niangao (glutinous rice cakes), oranges or tangerines and fish.
Traditionally, red envelopes filled with money – “hong bao” in Mandarin – are given to children or unmarried adults with no job. The colour red represents good luck and happiness in the Chinese culture, so it is encouraged to wear something red during the celebrations to gain good luck in the new year.
To get in the spirit of the Chinese New Year celebrations it is also a great idea to learn some greetings beforehand. “Happy New Year” in Cantonese is “San Nin Fei Lok” (pronounced san knee fy lock) and in Mandarin is “Xin Nian Kuai Le” (pronounced sing nee-ann koo-why ler)
Chinese restaurants in London
There are plenty of fantastic restaurants to visit in London’s Chinatown and neighbouring areas. Many of these restaurants also offer Chinese New Year packages, but it is worth booking these and any other reservations in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Hunan – This restaurant is based in Belgravia and is well known for not having a menu. Instead, Hunan serves tapas sized dishes based on the food and spice preferences of its diners.
- Duck Duck Goose – Located in Brixton, Duck Duck Goose is inspired by food cooked on the streets of Hong Kong, the menu is based around Cantonese cooking techniques.
- Baozi Inn – Baozi Inn is situated in Chinatown, the menu incorporates Northern Chinese cuisine, including delicious dishes such as spicy beef noodles and steamed buns.
- The Shan State – Based in Chinatown, this restaurant specialises in serving Myanmar meals and Asian desserts.
- XU – Bordering Soho and London’s Chinatown, XU is a newly opened restaurant serving dishes inspired by the flavours of Taiwan.