Londoners join colourful parade to mark Chinese New Year
Londoners have welcomed in the Chinese New Year of the Pig with colourful celebrations in the city centre.
Thousands of people lined the streets of the West End on Sunday to watch a vibrant parade make its way to Chinatown.
Crowds braved the wet weather to be entertained by dancers, musicians and performers in traditional dress.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan claimed the new year celebrations in the city were the largest anywhere outside of Asia.
“Londoners of Chinese origin have been contributing towards our city for decades, contributing economically, socially and culturally,” he said.
“They make a massive contribution to our city being the greatest city in the world.”
Flying dragons and dancing lions whirled around large handcrafted floats that made their way down Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue.
Chinatown bulged with visitors as restaurants and shops set up stalls selling Chinese cuisine and paper dragons.
The streets constantly crackled to the sound of small snaps that pop when thrown to the ground.
Chinese and British dignitaries, including the mayor, gathered on a stage in Trafalgar Square to give speeches, join in a traditional ceremony and watch an acrobatic flying lions performance.
Mr Khan said it was “absolutely crucial” that London showed itself to be a “tolerant” city through the event.
“And our open-mindedness and outwards looking approach is not going to change even if we do leave the European Union,” he said.
The mayor added: “I want Londoners of all backgrounds to have a sense of belonging in our city.
“One of the reasons why I support Chinese New Year celebrations in Trafalgar Square is to make sure those Londoners of Chinese origin feel welcome in our city.
“It’s an auspicious time of year and we should celebrate the Chinese New Year with our friends, our neighbours and our family of Chinese origin.”
The New Year celebrations were organised by the London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA) with support from the Mayor of London and Westminster City Council.