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UK's Chinese New Year celebrations taking shape

By Bo Leung in London | | Updated: 2018-01-09 00:32
Fireworks explode behind the Elizabeth Tower, commonly known as Big Ben, during New Year's Eve celebrations in London, Britain, January 1, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

London will host some of the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia as millions of people around the world mark the start of the Year of the Dog.

This year, the Lunar New Year falls on Feb 16. The United Kingdom capital's main celebrations will take place on Feb 18 when an expected 700,000 people will be entertained by a colorful parade featuring Chinese music, floats, dancing, and acrobatics, in addition to dragon and lion dances. The procession will make its way down Charing Cross Road and end at Shaftesbury Avenue.

Celebrations will continue with stage performances in Trafalgar Square that will include traditional Chinese dancing and music, as well as contemporary hip-hop acts and a line-up of artists from China.

For foodies, there will be a chance to sample food from the traditional Chinese New Year menu sold from pop-up stalls in Chinatown, where there will also be cultural activities, craft stalls, and more lion dancing.

A pyrotechnic display will light up Trafalgar Square to round off the day's events.

Andy Leung, creative director for the event's final performances, said: "For the finale at Trafalgar Square, there will be a diverse performance, from pop, rock, rap, to dance featuring British, British-Chinese, and artists from China and there is also a surprise guest DJ."

In Manchester, in Northwest England, a city that has one of the oldest and largest Chinese communities in the UK, there will be a dragon parade, along with traditional lion dancing, martial arts displays, and a funfair before a firework display lights up the night sky.

Over on the Isle of Wight, an island off the South Coast of England, there will be a fusion of sound, vibrant colors, and illuminations at Spirit of the Orient, a woodland festival that offers Chinese cuisine, entertainment, and lantern parades.

Music lovers can enjoy the sounds of Chinese New Year in Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, during the city's official Chinese New Year concert. The event will bring a variety of performers to the city, including traditional musicians from China, and Western classical performers such as the Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Elsewhere, parades and entertainment are expected to draw thousands of people to festivities in the Chinatown in Paris, France.

Chinese New Year is the moment a new zodiac year begins in the cycle of 12 years that are each represented by an animal. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, which means the festival falls on different dates each year. In 2018, the animal will switch from the Rooster to the Dog.

Celebrations in China typically commence on Chinese New Year's Eve and continue until the Lantern Festival, which is on the 15th day of the first month.

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