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Celebrations marking Chinese New Year are ancient. Some say traditions began as early as 2300 BC. For centuries, tales have been told of a mythical beast being fought on Chinese New Year. This was said to look like an ox with a head of a lion and lived in the sea.
It is said that, on the night of Chinese New Year’s Eve, this creature would come onto the land to attack people and animals. But the people discovered that this creature was scared of fire, the colour red and loud bangs.
From this, the traditions of wearing red and decorating homes with red paper were formed, along with incredible fireworks displays to drive away evil, and protective lanterns being released into the sky.
Symbolism is incredibly important at Chinese New Year. The whole premise is to drive away evil and bad luck from the previous year, welcoming in prosperity and good fortune with the coming new year.
To prepare for the celebrations, families clean their homes thoroughly. This act is symbolic of removing the old, leaving space for the new. Something we could all make a habit of doing at any time of year! They decorate their homes with red paper, creating lanterns and other intricate decorations.
On the Eve of Chinese New Year, most families get together for dinner. Relatives from afar travel to be together, sharing in a delicious meal that typically consists of fish and dumplings. These two dishes signify prosperity, and they’re really tasty too!
Red Packets are also given by adults to the young and the elderly. These are red envelopes containing money and are believed to pass on good health, long life and ward off evil.
At midnight, to welcome in the New Year, huge fireworks displays light up the sky. These drive away the darkness and the evil, leaving only light to begin the New Year ahead.
There’s a lot going on in London for Chinese New Year in 2019, so make sure you check out as much as possible so you don’t miss out!
This colourful and lively parade winds its way along some of London’s most iconic streets, including Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue. With a whole host of performers, including the quintessential dragon and lion dancers, this parade is not to be missed!
If you want to make sure you’re at the heart of it all then make your way to Trafalgar Square. With performances of music, dance and acrobatics, settle in to enjoy this free show. And, if you’re there all day, there’s plenty of delicious street food dishes to tempt your taste buds…
It’s a given that Chinatwon is going to be full of life and festivities on Chinese New Year! Packed full of traditional restaurants serving some of the finest cuisine in London, make sure you pay this area a visit and soak up the atmosphere.
If you’re in search of something a little quirkier then be sure to check out the China Exchange programme of events. All across London there will be tea-tasting, musical performances and martial arts demonstrations.
Whatever you decide to do to celebrate, make sure you welcome in the Chinese New Year in spectacular style! In London, there’s so much to do and enjoy across this international and culture event, so why not make a weekend of it?
Book at room at one of centrally located Grange Hotels so that you can come and go as you please!