Celebrating Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival in London, 2009

The Chinese New Year started on January 26th 2009 beginning the Year of the Ox. The New Year is based upon the tracking of the new moon and hence the Chinese New Year varies from year to year.

Below is a chart showing the start date of the Chinese New Year and the animal sign for that year:

Year Start Date Zodiac Sign
2010 February 14th Tiger
2011 February 3rd Rabit
2012 January 23rd Dragon
2013 February 10th Snake
2014 January 31st Horse
2015 February 19th Sheep
2016 February 8th Monkey
2017 January 28th Rooster

Inspite of the many changes in the modern world and in China, the Chinese population located in the UK still value their age old traditions and customs.

The fourteenth night of the Chinese New Year is dedicated to preparing for the huge Flying or Sky Lantern festival that takes place on the fifteenth day. Celebratons, parades and festivals take place all across the country with huge parades and parties beginning in Trafalgar Square, London, at midday on the final day of the New Moon.

On Saturday 31st January 2009 Gerard Street in the heart of China Town, London, was adorned with red hanging lanterns whilst over 10,000 people visited in awe of the Lantern Festival. Londons festivites were great celebrations for Londoners and visitors alike.

London Lantern Festival London Lantern Festival

Some of the lanterns were immaculate pieces of artwork covered in intricate images of birds, dragons, flowers, zodiac signs and even images from Chinese lanscapes and history. Many people carried the hanging lanterns of all sizes throughout the streets of London. Red hanging lanterns were particulalry popular with the Chinese as the colour red is set to ward off any bad spririts and bring good health and fortune to those displaying the colour.

The festival was an explosion of traditional dragon parades, dancers, martial arts, paper lantern workshops and of course, food tasting! Click here for Hanging Paper Lanterns