Thousands line streets of London to watch ‘biggest Chinese New Year festival outside Asia’

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 of London today 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.

The dragon at the head of the parade as performers make their way through Soho much to the enjoyment of the huge crowd

The dragon at the head of the parade as performers make their way through Soho much to the enjoyment of the huge crowd

The dragon at the head of the parade as performers make their way through Soho much to the enjoyment of the huge crowd

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.’

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. 

The new year is a two-week festival which began officially on 5th February and this year celebrates the of the Pig. 

Sadiq Khan with Chinese Dignitaries as the Chinese New Year festival reaches Trafalgar Square for further performances 

Sadiq Khan with Chinese Dignitaries as the Chinese New Year festival reaches Trafalgar Square for further performances 

Sadiq Khan with Chinese Dignitaries as the Chinese New Year festival reaches Trafalgar Square for further performances 

Women dressed in traditional costume with oil-paper umbrellas during the Chinese new year parade today in London

Women dressed in traditional costume with oil-paper umbrellas during the Chinese new year parade today in London

Women dressed in traditional costume with oil-paper umbrellas during the Chinese new year parade today in London

Performers on stage during London's Chinese New Year celebrations, in Trafalgar Square

Performers on stage during London's Chinese New Year celebrations, in Trafalgar Square

Performers on stage during London’s Chinese New Year celebrations, in Trafalgar Square

Crowds stand in the rain at Trafalgar Square during the Chinese new year parade. Sadiq Khan said it was biggest outside Asia

Crowds stand in the rain at Trafalgar Square during the Chinese new year parade. Sadiq Khan said it was biggest outside Asia

Crowds stand in the rain at Trafalgar Square during the Chinese new year parade. Sadiq Khan said it was biggest outside Asia

Crowds braved the wet weather to be entertained by dancers, musicians and performers in traditional dress

Crowds braved the wet weather to be entertained by dancers, musicians and performers in traditional dress

Crowds braved the wet weather to be entertained by dancers, musicians and performers in traditional dress

Pupils from the Gravesend Riverview Junior School dressed in Lion costumes during the Chinese new year parade today

Pupils from the Gravesend Riverview Junior School dressed in Lion costumes during the Chinese new year parade today

Pupils from the Gravesend Riverview Junior School dressed in Lion costumes during the Chinese new year parade today

The new year is a two-week festival which began officially on 5th February and this year celebrates the of the Pig

The new year is a two-week festival which began officially on 5th February and this year celebrates the of the Pig

The new year is a two-week festival which began officially on 5th February and this year celebrates the of the Pig

Performers taking part in a parade involving costumes, lion dances and floats, during Chinese New Year celebrations

Performers taking part in a parade involving costumes, lion dances and floats, during Chinese New Year celebrations

Performers taking part in a parade involving costumes, lion dances and floats, during Chinese New Year celebrations

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'Londoners of Chinese origin have been contributing towards our city for decades,' said London's Mayor 

'Londoners of Chinese origin have been contributing towards our city for decades,' said London's Mayor 

‘Londoners of Chinese origin have been contributing towards our city for decades,’ said London’s Mayor 

Performers who appear to be dressed in traditional Hmong clothing pose for a selfie. Hmong are ancient peoples from the Yellow River region of China

Performers who appear to be dressed in traditional Hmong clothing pose for a selfie. Hmong are ancient peoples from the Yellow River region of China

Performers who appear to be dressed in traditional Hmong clothing pose for a selfie. Hmong are ancient peoples from the Yellow River region of China

Performers react as they take part in the Chinese Lunar New Year parade through central London

Performers react as they take part in the Chinese Lunar New Year parade through central London

Performers react as they take part in the Chinese Lunar New Year parade through central London

People dressed in cartoon animal costumes dance during the Chinese new year parade

People dressed in cartoon animal costumes dance during the Chinese new year parade

People dressed in cartoon animal costumes dance during the Chinese new year parade

People dress as the giant panda, also known as panda bear or simply panda, its a bear famously native to south central China

People dress as the giant panda, also known as panda bear or simply panda, its a bear famously native to south central China

People dress as the giant panda, also known as panda bear or simply panda, its a bear famously native to south central China

A Lion dance is performed during the Chinese new year parade. It's performed for good luck, as it is believed that the lion is an auspicious animal 

A Lion dance is performed during the Chinese new year parade. It's performed for good luck, as it is believed that the lion is an auspicious animal 

A Lion dance is performed during the Chinese new year parade. It’s performed for good luck, as it is believed that the lion is an auspicious animal 

The Pig is the twelfth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. Pictured are festival performers 

The Pig is the twelfth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. Pictured are festival performers 

The Pig is the twelfth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. Pictured are festival performers 

Man dresses in a Pai Mei (also known as Bak Mei) styled costume. Mei is a fictional Chinese character that is one of five elders

Man dresses in a Pai Mei (also known as Bak Mei) styled costume. Mei is a fictional Chinese character that is one of five elders

Man dresses in a Pai Mei (also known as Bak Mei) styled costume. Mei is a fictional Chinese character that is one of five elders

Traditional Qing dynasty style gate in London's Chinatown with revellers in the foreground, it's the largest Chinese gate in the country

Traditional Qing dynasty style gate in London's Chinatown with revellers in the foreground, it's the largest Chinese gate in the country

Traditional Qing dynasty style gate in London’s Chinatown with revellers in the foreground, it’s the largest Chinese gate in the country

A woman in the crowd reading a Chinese newspaper during London's Chinese New Year celebrations in Trafalgar Square

A woman in the crowd reading a Chinese newspaper during London's Chinese New Year celebrations in Trafalgar Square

A woman in the crowd reading a Chinese newspaper during London’s Chinese New Year celebrations in Trafalgar Square

The Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Westminster - Councillor Lindsey Hall poses for a photo during the festivities 

The Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Westminster - Councillor Lindsey Hall poses for a photo during the festivities 

The Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Westminster – Councillor Lindsey Hall poses for a photo during the festivities 

Pictured last week, lanterns are carried through the streets in preparation for the Chinese New Year festivities 

Pictured last week, lanterns are carried through the streets in preparation for the Chinese New Year festivities 

Pictured last week, lanterns are carried through the streets in preparation for the Chinese New Year festivities 

 

Link hienalouca.com

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