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About Chinese New Year in London

Find out more about the traditions of Chinese New Year and discover how it is celebrated in London.

When is Chinese New Year celebrated?

Marking the turn of the lunar year, Chinese New Year has been celebrated for centuries in China. Also known as the Spring Festival and the Lunar New Year, this colourful celebration starts on the last day of the last month in the Chinese lunar calendar, and ends on the 15th day of the first month with the spectacular Lantern Festival.

In 2019, Chinese New Year falls on 5 February, with the main Chinese New Year events taking place in London’s Chinatown, West End and Trafalgar Square on 10 February. Check back closer to the time for more information about the 2019 Chinese New Year celebrations.

Lion dance in Trafalgar Square at Chinese New Year 2017. Photo by: Jon Mo

The story of Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is based on various legends, including that of an old man defeating the wicked mythical beast Nian with the help of firecrackers and red paper defences.

The festival gives people a chance to remember ancestors and to pay tribute to gods. On Chinese New Year’s Eve (the evening before Chinese New Year’s Day), families gather together for dinner and children often receive red packets with money for good luck.

Traditionally, every family would clean their house in the build-up to Chinese New Year to ward off any bad luck from the current year, and to make room for good luck in the coming year. Openings such as doors or windows would be given a makeover with red paper decorations to bring in good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity.

Chinese New Year is celebrated across the globe, with the nature of the celebrations varying depending on the location. But whether you’re on China’s mainland, in other Asian territories such as Singapore and Thailand, or in Chinatown neighbourhoods in major cities, such as London, you’ll be sure to have a good time with firecrackers, lion dances and festive food over Lunar New Year. 

Chinese New Year 2017 parade. Photo by: Jon Mo

Chinese New Year celebrations in London

The London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA) was founded in 1978 to help businesses in Chinatown, to provide support for British Chinese, and to raise funds for disaster relief in China.

Today, the LCCA continues to help the Chinese business community in London, but it also organises the annual Chinese New Year celebrations and the Mid-Autumn Festival in London. The Chinese New Year events in Chinatown and across the West End are now the largest of their kind outside Asia, attracting hundreds of thousands of people each year.

Chinese New Year celebrations in London include the colourful Chinese New Year parade, lion dances through Chinatown and a spectacular stage show in Trafalgar Square.

Discover all about the annual celebrations, and take a look at our top tips to make the most of Chinese New Year in London.