Enjoy Chinese New Year in the capital

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If you are looking for a colourful day out that the whole family will enjoy, then you should certainly consider being a part of London’s Chinese New Year celebrations.

Every year the capital hosts the biggest Chinese New Year party outside of Asia, with thousands of revellers gathering in the streets of the city for a colourful explosion of culture.

The Chinese New Year is based on the both the lunar and solar calendars and the date varies each year, falling between late January and mid-February.

Each year is named after one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. 2013 is the Year of the Snake and celebrations will commence at 10.15am on February 10th.

The morning will see a parade from the city’s West End to Trafalgar Square, which will feature a variety of colourful floats, musicians, and dancers. All of which will be alongside traditional Chinese dragons, lions and acrobats.

One regular feature is the annual lion dance, which weaves through the bustling crowds to stop at many of the area’s restaurants and shops to wish the owners a prosperous year ahead.

Food stands and stalls will be lining the streets all day, so there are plenty of opportunities to lose yourself in the culture.

Trafalgar Square will then host an opening celebration, featuring a line-up of 100 stage performers and special guests.

The Mayor of London and the President of Chinatown will also be on hand to take part in the Dotting of the Eye ceremony. To top it all off there will also be the obligatory spectacular fireworks display at 17.40pm.

At nearby Shaftesbury Avenue, there will be performances from local community groups and schools. There will also be a chance for local Chinese artists to showcase their talents.

There will be a huge demand for places at Chinatown’s many restaurants, so if you plan to enjoy a meal at any point during the day, be sure to book in advance.

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