Happy New Year! It is the year of the dragon and London has once again hosted a colourful and festive Lunar New Year parade. What a fun parade with beautiful multicoloured floats, traditional costumes and dancing, a few lion dances and many, many dragons of all shapes and sizes. This year’s parade was better than last year’s and seemed much more well attended.
The anticipation built as people lined the streets prior to the parade. It was delightful to see young children bursting with excitement for the start of the parade and the murmurs of excitement through the crowd as the lion dance drumming could be heard in the distance. Soon, we could all see the tops of a swirling dragon in the distance down the street! The parade was starting!!
After the parade, the crowds swarmed into Chinatown forming long queues outside every establishment. Many people wanting to celebrate over a meal with friends and family. The large stage at Trafalgar square hosted non stop performances of singing, dancing, magic etc. for the rest of the afternoon. It was so sweet to see the camera crew catching the engrossed, rapt faces of the very young or very old carefully observing the magician produce all kinds of lucky Chinese New Year foods from nothing!
Chinatown and central London celebrated in grand style this year with a multitude of bright red lanterns bedecking the streets of Chinatown, a huge stage set up on Trafalgar square and another large display in Leicester Square. A fine day meant that loads of families were out making the most of the celebratory atmosphere. It is always heartwarming to see that the parade participants and the parade audience was made up of a wide range of ages and ethnicities. Many multi-generational family groups could be observed. Many young children, and not just the Chinese ones were in festive clothing of red and gold. There were plenty going home clutching a noise maker or a toy puppet Chinese dragon or lion. It was a wonderful festive and family atmosphere, albeit quite crowded.
Happy New Year to you. I hope the year ahead brings you and all your loved ones an abundance of good health, good fortune and prosperity.