In pictures: Chinese New Year brings colourful celebrations

Celebrations for Chinese New Year are under way across Britain as festivals of light and colour mark the beginning of a new lunar calendar.

Festivities are expected to last until March 2 as the world welcomes the Year of the Dog with fireworks, dances and bell ringing among the more traditional activities.

On Sunday a special parade was held in London, leaving at Charing Cross Road and culminating with entertainment and attractions at Trafalgar Square.

Thousands gathered to join in the celebrations (John Stillwell/PA)
Thousands gathered to join in the celebrations (John Stillwell/PA)
A Chinese Dragon gets up close to a young spectator along the parade route. (John Stillwell/PA)
A Chinese Dragon gets up close to a young spectator along the parade route. (John Stillwell/PA)
The parade route began at Charing Cross Road and into Trafalgar Square (John Stillwell/PA)
The parade route began at Charing Cross Road and into Trafalgar Square (John Stillwell/PA)
2018 marks the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac (John Stillwell/PA)
2018 marks the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac (John Stillwell/PA)
A woman takes a selfie against a backdrop of hanging lanterns in Gerrard Street in Chinatown, London (Yui Mok/PA)
A woman takes a picture against a backdrop of hanging lanterns at Gerrard Street in London's Chinatown (Yui Mok/PA)
The Flying Lions performing for the crowds in Trafalgar Square (John Stillwell/PA)
The Flying Lions performing for the crowds in Trafalgar Square (John Stillwell/PA)

Meanwhile in Scotland a Giant Lanterns of China exhibit at Edinburgh Zoo, inspired by the resident pandas, was lit up to mark the annual celebration.

It is Scotland's biggest Chinese New Year celebration (Jane Barlow/PA)
It is Scotland's biggest Chinese New Year celebration (Jane Barlow/PA)
A visitor takes in the Giant Lanterns of China (Jane Barlow/PA)
A visitor takes in the Giant Lanterns of China (Jane Barlow/PA)
The lanterns are inspired by the zoo's giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang (Jane Barlow/PA)
The lanterns are inspired by the zoo's giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang (Jane Barlow/PA)
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