Around 250,000 people of different cultures decided in an alternative way to spend this Valentine’s 2016. So many in fact flocked to the West End’s streets of London for the Chinese New Year celebrations. Lanterns, dragons, carp of all colors have thus replaced the red roses.
The annual capital’s parade, the biggest in the world outside China, has marked with one week delay, the beginning of the year of the monkey.
The schedule of the event, despite the large turnout and a small protest against dog- eating, had no setbacks thanks to the help of many volunteers. Cindy, 21, Chinese volunteer who studies in London, said :
“Even if this environment is different from China, taking part to the celebrations makes me feel closer to my origins,”
The highlight of the celebration has featured ten lion teams acting their propitiatory dance among the restaurants, craft stalls and food stands of Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue till the heart of Chinatown.
On the Trafalgar Square stage artists visiting from China specifically for the occasion performed acrobatic show, theatre and song recitals.
A family area at Charing Cross Road have hosted martial arts demonstrations and an opera performance from the Chinese Young Cultural Ambassadors, providing a welcome shelter from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets.
London confirms once again to be one of the cosmopolitan capital of Europe.
Tourists of all backgrounds have taken advantage of this opportunity of contact with a still mysterious culture. Like Marie, 51, half french woman who said:
“I’ve always been fascinated by Chinese culture, since I was five. I came here to learn more about the year of the monkey. I think that it is showed the happy side of China.”