Feature: Half million revelers celebrate Chinese New Year in London
February 15, 2016 11:34 pm
LONDON, Feb. 15 — About 500,000 Chinese and Britons gathered at the center of London on Sunday, taking part in one of the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia.
A grand parade started at around 10:15 a.m. local time from the north of Trafalgar Square, located at the center of the city. Thirty dragon and lion dance troupes and different characters of traditional Chinese New Year celebrations, such as the Monkey King and the God of Wealth, joined the parade.
Having gained strong support from the city's authorities and police, the Chinese New Year Celebration have been held successfully over the past decade in the central square of London.
This year's event, which falls on Valentine's Day, has attracted about 500,000 people, according to the organizer.
Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson have all sent their greetings and good wishes to the Chinese New Year.
A number of British officials, including Deputy Mayor of London Roger Evans, attended the opening ceremony of this year's celebrations.
"The Spring Festival in London is a wonderful harmony of the east meeting the west," said Chinese ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming.
"Here in London and the UK, I hope it will bring families together… I hope everyone here today will enjoy this grand opening show of the 'Golden Era' between China and the UK," he added.
Celebrations at the Trafalgar Square featured acrobatics, martial arts, musical performance by pupils from Beijing, and Sichuan opera.
The most exciting lion dance show began at about 1:00 p.m., attracting thousands of visitors.
"It's amazing and I love it. The lion dance is brilliant and the skills of the performers are so absorbing," said Tania Graham, who brought her family to see the celebration.
Many small tents were erected where retailers could offer traditional Chinese food and sell New Year accessories such as cherry bombs and toys to visitors.
Besides the celebrations at Trafalgar Square, various festivities are expected to last all day in the China Town and on streets linking the square to the China Town. (PNA/Xinhua)