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With Chinese New Year arriving on Friday, the West End will mark the arrival of the year of the Horse with its main celebrations on Sunday, February 2.

The festivities begin at 10.00am on Sunday, with a New Year's Parade led by the Lucky Money God; winding through London’s West End, before reaching its final destination in Chinatown.

An opening ceremony at 12.00pm officially launches the celebrations in Trafalgar Square, followed by an array of stage performances in the Square by performing troupes from China, including acrobatics, traditional dances and a gravity-defying lion dance on high poles. A second stage on Shaftesbury Avenue, in Chinatown, plays host to performances from a range of local performers and up-and-coming talent.

Chinatown itself is always at the centre of the New Year party, with traditional craft stalls and food stands being set up outside restaurants. A lion dance will be snaking through the throngs of visitors, stopping by restaurants to wish the owners good luck for the coming year. The Chinese Community Centre will also be staging a mini festival in Horse & Dolphin Yard for the day featuring a tombola, a piñata, Chinese calligraphy and live performances featuring Tai Chi, Taekwondo, Chinese classical music, Chinese drumming and Chinese dancing.

A range of other special events are planned in the run-up to Sunday’s main event - Madame Tussauds will present a special collection of Chinese celebrities for the duration of the festivities, and there will be also a season of Chinese films at the British Film Institute.

Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour is planning a long weekend of oriental artistry and trickery until Saturday, February 1, offering red envelopes to all customers with prizes and discounts, as well as entertainment including face painting, a photo booth and a fortune teller.

On the Sunday of the Chinese New Year celebrations, Opium will be opening at 5.00pm so that Chinese New Year visitors can come in from the cold to toast the end of the celebrations with a specially-created Chinese New Year signature cocktail. Spice Market London restaurant, situated on the ground floor of the glamorous W Hotel, will be serving up its Asian style brunch menu.

Where: At venues across London

When: Main celebrations take place across London on Sunday, February 2

For more info on what's on, check out the Chinatown London website

Image credit: Thinkstock


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