London to welcome in Chinese New Year of the Dog on Sunday
16 February 2018
Sunday 18th February 2018 will mark the arrival of the Year of the Dog in London, with thousands of people heading to the capital as it hosts the largest Chinese New Year Celebrations outside Asia.
The main celebrations on 18th February in London will run from 10am to 6pm, and all activities are free to attend. Festivities begin at 10am with a two-hour long Grand Parade featuring the largest gathering of over 50 Chinese Dragon and Lion teams performing the biggest festival dance in a public parade in Europe, through the streets, from Trafalgar Square, via London’s West End before reaching its final destination - Chinatown.
Stage performances will start at 12 noon in Trafalgar Square with firecrackers heralding the start of the New Year Celebrations. 2018 Chinese New Year Festival will feature TV personality and Fashion Stylist Gok Wan, as well as an array of exclusive performances on stage from China and the UK including, Chinese performing troupe, World Famous Chinese Soprano He Wu, acrobatics, traditional dances and a spectacular gravity-defying lion dance on a pair of high poles.
The Theme for the Celebration this year will be “Celebrating the Golden Era for UK-China Relations” and the finale will emphasise the friendship and beneficial collaboration between the two countries.
The Charing Cross Road stage this year has been designated as the new Talent & Community Zone, and will feature performances and activities from up-coming British Chinese talent and DJ’s from Spectrum Radio Chinese Programme to emphasise the thriving Contemporary Music Scene of the Chinese Community. The Family and Children Zone in Leicester Square has been extended to create a space for exciting interactive games, fun workshops and educational activities. The Martial Arts & Cultural Zone at Shaftesbury Avenue will showcase a diverse range of Chinese, East Asian and South East Asian Martial Arts. Chinatown itself will be the epicentre of the New Year Party as the Food & Cuisine Zone.
The area in and around Gerrard Street will be a hive of activities, with Lion Dances between 12pm to 6pm. Boasting more than 100 restaurants, guests will be able to sample the authentic and diverse regional Chinese and South East Asian cuisine in Europe. There will also be lots of festive stalls with traditional souvenirs and decorations
This year’s celebrations will mark the arrival of the Year of the Dog, the eleventh of the 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. Dogs are especially auspicious to the Chinese community as they symbolise the coming of fortune, those born in the year of the dog are friendly, sincere, loyal and dependable.
The Celebrations this year will take place all over London, with the London Eye presenting a spectacular light show over Chinese New Year weekend and the National Gallery hosting a special Family Day on Saturday 17/02/2018. Details of other celebrations in London during the Chinese New Year period can be found on VisitLondon.com/China.
CT Tang, OBE, The Chair of London Chinatown Chinese Association, and Organiser, said: “with UK entering the golden era of friendship with China, Chinese New Year consolidates the sentiment with everyone joining in the Celebrations. Chinatown will continue to support the “Belt & Road Initiative”, which leads to closer partnership between the two countries”.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, says: “Chinese New Year is always a joyous time in the city’s cultural calendar. Trafalgar Square will be filled with brilliant live music, delicious food and great entertainment for all the family. The highlight of the celebrations is the spectacular lion’s parade, which makes its way from Chinatown, through to Trafalgar Square – where its eyes are dotted before it performs a gravity-defying dance. I hear this year’s performance will be more breathtaking than ever – I can’t wait to see it."
He also explains, “Chinese New Year is also a time to celebrate with friends and family, reflect on the past year and look forward to the future. Over the past year, I have enjoyed meeting with members of London’s Chinese community as well as the many Chinese businesses around the capital and hope to visit China during my Mayoralty to strengthen economic and cultural ties with this great nation.
“London is open to all people and all communities. That’s why I’m so proud of the Chinese New Year festivities here in the capital, which are the largest of their kind outside of China and entertain hundreds of thousands of Londoners from all communities, as well as visitors to our city.”
His Honourable Councilor Ian Adams, The Lord Mayor of Westminster is proud of Chinatown and praises the London Chinatown Chinese Association who “work tirelessly on behalf of the Chinese Community to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors”. He especially extending his thanks to the “management and staff of LCCA for the focus they provide to the community spirit”.
Laura Citron, Chief Executive Officer of London and Partners, said: “London’s Chinatown hosts some of the best Chinese New Year activities in the world. From trying out different Asian cuisines to watching the dragon and lion dances and family brush calligraphy, there are many ways to get involved and celebrate the Year of the Dog. Each year, the celebrations see many Chinese and international visitors explore the capital while they enjoy the festivities, and we welcome them to our global city.”
Peter Lam, President of the London Chinatown Chinese Association, explains: “The Celebration is a good opportunity for all the communities to join in for fun and friendship. We are pleased to welcome many new groups participating in the parade, not just from China but also from different local schools and clubs around London and the UK. We hope this will bring prosperity and good fortune to everyone.”
The highlights of the day
There are FIVE Celebration Zones, including the Main Celebration Zone, Talent & Community Zone, Family & Children Zone, Martial Arts & Cultural Zone and the Food & Cuisine Zone
10:00: Opening parade
12:50: Dragon Dance and Flying Lion Dance performance at the Trafalgar Square Stage
13:15: Variety show by the Festival of Springs, Culture of China troupe, presenting an exciting mix of cultural dance and performance by top performers across China
14:45 Hong Kong Traditional Music Group Artemisia performing Chinese songs with Silk Road cultural influences
15:20 World renown Chinese Soprano Ms. He Wu
After 4pm: Surprise appearance of TV celebrity, Fashion Stylist and DJ, Gok Wan
17:30 Finale: Year of the Dog Finale on the Trafalgar Square Stage, cultural live performances, Lion Dance and pyrotechnics, with a spectacular pyrotechnic show
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Notes to editors
The London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA) Chinese New Year Celebrations will take place on Sunday 18th February 2018.
The LCCA aims to support the local communities and business in the area by actively promoting Chinatown as a visitors’ destination. The theme of the Celebrations this year is to mark the Golden Era for UK-China Relations with UK entering in a closer and stronger friendship with China. The LCCA aims to support the Belt and Road Initiative (The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road) proposed by the Chinese Government that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries, which opens up new opportunities for cultural exchanges and trade links for UK and China.
London Chinatown is a bustling cultural destination in the heart of London’s West End. It is home to more than 100 different restaurants, bars, cafés and shops. With over 20 different delicious regional cuisines, authentic Asian supermarkets and Chinese Herbal shops which offer traditional Chinese health products, there is something for everyone in Chinatown.
Visitor numbers from China currently ranks as the 22nd largest overseas market for London.
- From a low base, the increase in visitor numbers from China have been increasing more rapidly than from any other market.
- Visits increased from 55,000 in 2010 to 167,000 in 2015 – growth of 202% during this time.
- This percentage increase is the highest of any market. i.e. China has been the fastest growing market for London in terms of visitor numbers over the past five years.
- Total spend in 2015 was £310 million, putting China as 10th most valuable market , despite the ranking of 22nd for volume. The year-on-year increase in Chinese spend in London meant that China rose from being ranked #23 for overseas spend in 2014 to #10 in 2015.
- This is because spend per visit is very high – average spend per visit in 2015 was £1,858, higher than all markets, with the exception of the Middle East.The above is taken from the UK Government’s Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey which is the benchmark for measuring international tourists to the UK
- CREDITS The Chinese New Year celebrations in London is organised by London Chinatown Chinese Association and is supported by Mayor of London and Westminster City Council.
- Official Site: visitilondon.com/china | Twitter: @chinatownldn | #CNYLondon | Facebook: /chinatownldn | Instagram: lccauk