The people of London celebrated the first day of Lunar New Year with lots of performances and activities welcoming in the Year of the Rabbit.
In Chinatown, the lion and dragon parade began at 10am from Charing Cross Road and made its way through Shaftesbury Avenue.
The road was completely blocked off in celebration of this important cultural event and to ensure the safety of people.
Thousands of people crowded around during the parade to catch a glimpse of the magnificent dragon.
In Trafalgar Square, the London Chinatown Chinese Association welcomed their guests, including the Mayor of London (Greater London Authority), and Westminster City Council to give thanks to the community and deliver this year’s London Chinese New Year Celebration.
The eyecatching ceremony then took place which involved guests drawing on the dragon to wake it up from its rest during off season.
This was followed by the lion dance and drum performances which is significant in Chinese culture to bring in good fortune and scare away evil spirits.
The celebrations marked the end of the Year of the Tiger, heralding in the new year. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are believed to be vigilant, witty, quick-minded and ingenious.
Away from central London, Wai-Jung Williams, a third year music tech student at Kingston University, celebrated this lunar new year with his family in Cheam, Surrey.
“We had Zongzi for New Year’s eve, and I got some red envelopes for good luck.”
Growing up in a half Chinese household, he is accustomed to Chinese New Year traditions.
Handing out red envelopes, or red packets, usually filled with money, is essential to every Chinese New Year festival as it symbolises good wishes for the year ahead.
“Usually we would go to my uncle’s and have a big meal with a hotpot, but my grandparents are at risk to covid,” he added.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to see each other soon in a safe environment.”