Lunar New Year: where to celebrate the Year of the Dragon in London

Chinese dragon dance at Trafalgar Square. Pic: Ying Kuen Tonmy Lam

As London gears up for celebration of the vibrant and festive Lunar New Year, the city comes alive with a variety of cultural extravaganzas, dazzling parades, and delectable feasts. Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year and Spring Festival, is celebrated by East Asian people worldwide, including more than a billion in China, to mark the start of a new lunar calendar year. Whether you’re a seasoned festival-goer or a newcomer to the festivities, prepare to be captivated by some of the events happening across the capital and in the Eastlondonlines boroughs. 

Weekend Family Festival

February 10 to 11, Tower Hamlets – Free 

From ribbon dancing to martial arts, this two day event at Museum of London Docklands aims to teach children about the Chinese traditions of the Lunar New Year. While some activities are sold out, there are plenty available for all drop-ins. With dragon puppets, lion dancing, and so much more this event makes for the perfect family-friendly day. 

Chinese New Year Parade

February 11, Trafalgar Square – Free 

Every year the Lunar New Year festivities make their way to the heart of Trafalgar Square. From traditional dragon and flying lion dances to mesmerizing stage performances straight from China, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Not to mention the delicious food stalls throughout the square to stop for a bite to eat. Both the unforgettable performances and mouth-watering food will make for an unforgettable experience. 

Chinese New Year children’s celebration:  

February 14, Croydon – Free 

If you want to immerse your children in the vibrant celebrations of the Chinese New Year, there’s an event at Selsdon Library tailored for youngsters aged 5 to 11 that includes captivating activities and creative crafts, promising an unforgettable experience of family fun. 

Lunar New Year Feast

February 15, Hackney – £60.00 

A Lunar New Year feast at Hatch Homerton, courtesy of the collaboration between Verna Hungry Banana and Dinner Ladies, offers an exclusive dining experience with 5 courses of delicious Chinese dishes. Verna drew inspiration for the menu from her own cookbook as well as traditional Lunar New Year dishes, creating a carefully crafted menu of tofu with XO sauce, pan-fried baos, Cantonese sticky rice, and more. With a track record of eight successful years of sold-out Chinese New Year events, Dinner Ladies ensures that this collaboration will be nothing short of spectacular. 

Lunar New Year Family Day

February 18, Croydon – Free 

At the Museum of the Home in Croydon, a special event for family fun will be taking place. Acclaimed author Eva Wong Nava will be reading her illustrated children’s book, “I Love Chinese New Year” followed by crafting Lunar New Year animal puppets using recycled materials and interactive family play houses. 

Chinese New Year Gala Show and Exhibition

February 21, Lewisham – £7.00-£10.00 

Get ready for an unforgettable evening of celebration at Goldsmiths, University of London, hosted annually by Goldsmiths Confucius Institute for Dance and Performance. This Chinese New Year gala and exhibition promises an array of captivating performances, interactive stalls, and delectable cuisine. This year’s festivities will feature a special exhibition titled “China: A Consolidated History,” showcasing a diverse collection of artworks that encapsulate China’s rich cultural heritage, including photographic masterpieces by renowned photojournalist John Thomson. Open to both the public and Goldsmiths students and staff, this event is set to enchant attendees of all ages.  

To parttake in the culinary traditional festivities, read Eastlondonlines’ guide on what to eat to celebrate The Year of the Dragon.

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