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Chinese New Year 2024 – Year of the Dragon

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon in Chinatown London! From colourful decorations to traditional performances and celebratory feasts, it’s the perfect time to plan a visit.

On Sunday 11th February, London will take to the streets to celebrate Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year. As part of the carnival, you can expect lively parades, spectacular performances, beautiful displays, immersive family activities and all of your favourite Chinatown London restaurants serving festive specials and traditional celebratory dishes. Here’s everything you need to know:

Where to head to celebrate Chinese New Year 2024

The Chinese New Year parade takes place across the West End, starting at Duncannon Street, up Charing Cross Road and down Shaftesbury Avenue, dispersing on Rupert Street. There’ll be many stages set around the area at Trafalgar Square. There’ll be stalls on Gerrard Place and Newport Court in Chinatown London. In Chinatown London you’ll find lion dancing, stalls and plenty of places to stop off for a Chinese New Year feast.

What time do the celebrations in London begin?

The Chinese New Year parade starts at 10am, beginning with colourful parade floats and dragon dances from Duncannon Street. Between 12pm and 6pm, Trafalgar Square will have stage performances. 

5 things to do in Chinatown over Chinese New Year

1. Welcome good fortune, good health and a long life into the new year through symbolic celebratory dishes

Reuniting with family and friends over a feast is central to the festivities. Many restaurants in Chinatown London will be serving lucky foods to ring in the Chinese New Year. Think New Year’s Cake ‘nian gao’ from Sakurado, whole chicken from Four Seasons, longevity noodles from Kung Fu Noodle, jiaozi from Dumplings Legend and much more.

2. Try the Chinese New Year limited edition specials

Tuck into CNY buns at Bun House their new lantern bun and tea set features a miso brown sugar bun, beautifully crafted into the shape of a traditional red lantern. Sakurado has introduced a selection of sweet celebratory treats, decorated to represent the Year of the Dragon. Opium have curated three exclusive CNY cocktails. Red Dragon River has zesty notes of Kaffir lime and lemon with floral flavours of rose. Ming Fashioned is a spin on a classic Old Fashioned and Dragon Spritz combines the bitterness of Campari and grapefruit with the sweetness of passionfruit. Speedboat Bar will be kicking off celebrations early with a special menu for the CNY period. Explore our full list of Chinese New Year specials

3. Celebrate with some auspicious salad tossing with Yu Sheng at Rasa Sayang

A dish of prosperity where every ingredient carries meaning, Yu Sheng is a vital part of Malaysian celebrations. The ritual of its eating involves a celebration called ‘Lo Hei’, which translates to ‘toss high’ – so get prepared for some cleaning up afterwards if you order it to go! Traditionally, families and friends gather around the dining table and toss ingredients in the air with chopsticks while shouting out wishes to usher in luck for the New Year.

4. Pick up authentic ingredients to recreate your favourite Chinese New Year dishes

Continue the festivities at home and check out specialist Asian supermarkets including See Woo, New Loon Moon and Oseyo. Browse the towering shelves of ESEA produce and you can even pick up traditional red envelopes to give to someone special.

5. Learn about the hidden history of the area with Chinatown Stories from China Exchange

Join a family friendly half-term Lunar New Year walking tour of London’s Chinatown with China Exchange. Their award-winning trained volunteers will take you around this fascinating part of London, so it’s the perfect way to learn a little more about this unique location and community.

Why do we celebrate Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival is a two-week festival based on lunar cycles. For this reason, the date of the festival changes yearly. 

There are plenty of elements of the Chinese New Year which go back as far as 2000 BC. This includes the characteristic drumming and fireworks, said to help ward off evil spirits. The animal that gets chosen to be celebrated (for example, this year’s Dragon), relates to the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac. According to the Chinese zodiac story, the Jade Emperor of China organised a race between the animals and their winning position dictated the order of the years. Those positions were: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

To stay up to date with all things Chinese New Year 2024 follow our daily posts on Instagram @chinatownlondon.

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