10 February 2013

Happy Chinese New Year 2013, Welcome to the Year of the Snake

Marked with a parade in Central London this rainy morning, Chinese New Year 2013 marks the start of the Year of the Snake. By all accounts it's not meant to be an amazingly auspicious year, but neither good nor bad.
 

 
The Chinese believe that forwarned is forearmed and that when told the year may not be super shiny, if you go into it with a positive attitude you will be able to face whatever happens. Very pragmatic.
 
The most important festival for the Chinese, the New Year (or Spring Festival or Lunar New Year) celebrations traditionally run for 15 days making it also the longest festival. London's China Town is festooned in beautiful Lanterns,
 
"The first day [of the festival] is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth, officially beginning at midnight. It is a traditional practice to light fireworks, burn bamboo sticks and firecrackers and to make as much of a din as possible to chase off the evil spirits as encapsulated by nian (年) of which the term guo-nian (过年) was derived. Most importantly, the first day of Chinese New Year is a time to honor one's elders and families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended families, usually their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents." Credit
 
 
 
We couldn't face the crowds this year on such a cold and miserably wet day, but have done in previous years and it's a really fun day in central London's China Town - performers, the parade and scrummy Chinese food.
 
 
Last year, we even had dinner with the Head of the Parade. You may be thinking it was the organiser, but no, we had dinner in the Wong Kei with the actual Dragon head used by the parade dancers & the parade dancers, hungry from the dance through London. It really is quite an experience no matter what you do.
 
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