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Feature: London celebrates Chinese New Year with performances, mayor's greetings

01-30-2012 09:30 BJT

LONDON, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Grand celebrations were held in downtown London on Sunday for the Chinese new year of Dragon. Boris Johnson, mayor of London, joined in the celebrations and wished Chinese a happy new year.

The celebrations started at about 10 a.m. local time with parade from the Trafalgar Square to the Chinatown, featuring traditional lion and dragon dances, as well as a double-deck bus from which staff workers threw out chocolate. Those who grabbed it was deemed to have good luck in the new year.

Curtains of the performances on the Trafalgar Square were up at 12 a.m. with the sound of firecrackers. The performances, hosted by two Chinese and two natives who can speak Chinese, included acrobatics, martial arts, traditional songs, dances and operas, and attracted thousands of people.

Qiu Yuyun, from the London Chinatown Chinese Association who sponsored the performances, said that the celebrations were aimed to "promote the traditional Chinese culture and show the British people the colourful life of the Chinese communities."

During the celebrations, Boris Johnson walked to visit the Chinese in the Chinatown. "We celebrate the Chinese New Year in such a style to show our welcome to the Chinese in London," he said.

He believed that London is one of the foreign cities with most Chinese people. "The Chinese people dedicated a lot and inspired many other people," he said.

Looking into the Olympics, he told Xinhua that London would learn from China and make the Games successful.

In the Chinatown where red lanterns added a touch of festive flavor, many foreigners flocked there wearing masks of Chinese opera characters, biting steamed stuffed buns and buying their children paper toys in the shape of dragon, like Alice and William who didn't disclose their surname.

"We went to China in 2006 and spent five weeks travelling from Hong Kong northward," William said. "It was beautiful and I like China."

A Chinese lady who declined to be named said she had been in London for 10 years but this was her first time to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Chinatown. "In the past a few years I went back, but now my daughter is five years old and it is hard to ask for a leave from her kindergarten, so we have to stay here," she said.

"I miss my parents, relatives and friends very much at this time of the year," she said in the accent of Dalian, China's northeast port city. "The boisterous celebrations here made me feel like in my hometown."

On the way from Trafalgar Square to Chinatown there erected a wishing tree. Staff workers distributed small colorful bags to people. If someone who, after making a wish, can cast his bag into the branches of the tree and have it remain there, the wish is believed to come true.

Pedro Castro Feijoo, a student from Argentina, managed to have his bag rest on one branch, which made him happy. "This year is the year of Dragon and I know the Dragon is a sign of prosperity," he said.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: Xinhua

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