The biggest party outside China: London welcomes the Year of the Dragon in Europe's

Discussion in 'China' started by cir, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. cir

    cir Senior Member Senior Member

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    in Europe's largest Chinese New Year celebration

    By Emily Allen

    Last updated at 8:14 PM on 29th January 2012

    Thousands of people - and dragons - filled London's Trafalgar Square in central London today in a spectacular show of celebration of the Chinese New Year.

    The festivities to see in the Year of the Dragon included a dramatic firecracker display and dancers in outfits representing the mythical creature.

    Acrobats dressed in elaborate dragon costumes leapt from podiums while percussion musicians played a rousing beat.

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    The Chinese New Year parade makes it way through central London today in all its colourful glory

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    Performers in red trousers and gold and turquoise tops wow crowds with their eye-catching display

    About 100 acts progressed from Trafalgar Square to Chinatown where most of the festivities took place. Performers included the world record holders for the highest pole jump in the Lion Dance.

    Addressing spectators London Mayor Boris Johnson said: 'It's an amazing occasion and we've never seen a crowd quite as big as this in all the years that we've been doing it. I think it shows the way the world economy is going.

    'London is a global city, you've got more Chinese students here in London contributing to the London economy than any other city in the world and I think they love it because it's a safe city.

    'The point of this kind of event is to celebrate the Chinese New Year but also to intensify those links between London and China.'

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    Different Chinese years are represented by different zodiac animal signs - and last Monday saw the start of the Year Of The Dragon

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    Smile Boris! London's Mayor Boris Johnson sits next to a Chinese dragon at the celebrations this afternoon while right, lion dancers perform during the festivities

    Since the start of the Chinese New Year earlier this week, millions of ethnic Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese across Asia and the worlds have been celebrating with fireworks, feasting and family reunions.

    From Beijing to Bangkok and Seoul to Singapore, people hoping for good luck in the Year Of The Dragon have been visiting temples and lighting incense, setting off firecrackers and watching street performances.

    For many, the Lunar New Year is the biggest family reunion of the calendar for which people endure hours of cramped travel on trains and buses to get home.

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    The Chinese New Year parade makes its way past t Martin in the Field Church in central London as crowds clap and take photos

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    Performers smile for the cameras as the celebration gets underway. For many, the Lunar New Year is the biggest family reunion of the calendar

    In ancient times the dragon was a symbol reserved for the Chinese emperor, and it is considered to be an extremely auspicious sign.

    The new year, which traditionally lasts for 15 days, is the longest and most important of the Chinese holidays.

    Much like New Year in Western cultures, the festival begins on the first day of the first month within the Chinese calendar. It ends on the date of the full moon.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
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  3. cir

    cir Senior Member Senior Member

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    [​IMG]
    Mayor Boris Johnson puts his arm around a dragon puppet as he poses for a photograph this afternoon

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    More performers dressed as dragons to create the colourful spectacle in London. The New Year celebrations last for 15 days

    This year it runs until February 6.

    Despite often being known as 'Chinese' New Year, the annual celebration is recognised by other Asian populations worldwide, within countries such as Thailand and Singapore.

    Different years are represented by different zodiac animal signs - and last Monday the start of the Year Of The Dragon.

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    Perhaps the most recognised image within Chinese culture, the dragon symbolises power, strength and good luck

    Perhaps the most recognised image within Chinese culture, the dragon symbolises power, strength and good luck.

    In contrast to European beliefs, where dragons are considered evil creatures, they are seen as having auspicious power and it is seen as positive.

    Often regarded as one of the most important signs in the zodiac, Chinese tradition dictates that those born in Dragon years tend to be brave, innovative and highly driven, regularly making it to the top of their profession.

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    Despite often being known as 'Chinese' New Year, the annual celebration is recognised by other Asian populations worldwide, within countries such as Thailand and Singapore

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    Traditional Chinese dragon dancers pose in orange and white costumes outside William Hill in Queensway

    Famous people born in Dragon years include former U.S. president Bill Clinton, actress Reese Witherspoon and artist Salvador Dali.

    Those celebrating Chinese New Year mark the occasion by buying presents, clothing, food and decorations embracing popular themes such as wealth, happiness and good fortune.

    Each of the 15 days has a particular role, and often those taking part in celebrations will abide by the traditional beliefs according to each day.

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    Those celebrating Chinese New Year mark the occasion by buying presents, clothing, food and decorations embracing popular themes such as wealth, happiness and good fortune

    The first day is often set aside for people to honour the elders within their families, whereas the third day is generally accepted as a bad day to socialise with relatives or friends.

    The final day of the Chinese New Year is traditionally marked by a Lantern Festival when people walk through the streets carrying lanterns and light candles outside their homes.

    It is tradition to cleanse a house of all ill-fortune and to try to reconcile with others, removing negativity from your life.


    Read more: Thousands take to the streets to celebrate Chinese New Year | Mail Online
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  4. cir

    cir Senior Member Senior Member

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    January 29, 2012

    Washington Celebrates Chinese New Year With Parade

    Ira Mellman | Washington

    The capitol city of the United States has been celebrating the Chinese New Year for the past half century or so with a parade in Washington DC’s Chinatown section. This year was no exception. The parade did take place, but its organizers have some big changes in store for the future.

    There was a dragon dance, a lion dance, kung fu demonstrations and the lighting of a giant firecracker, all mainstays of the city’s annual celebration.

    Washington’s Chinese-American community, while substantial, is nowhere near as large as those in some other U.S. cities, like San Francisco and New York. But its Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Society wants its annual New Year parade to be as big.

    Video prepared for VOA by Shivan Sarna
    Washington Celebrates Chinese New Year With Parade | USA | English

    The organizations leader, Waymond Lee, said, “you know we have been organizing this parade for over fifty years. It has been the mainstay for the DC area. But you know, it’s mostly limited to the local Chinatown community. But I think it’s a cultural event that should belong to the general DC area. So in order to make it that way, we have to make it bigger.”

    This year’s parade had an American component as well, with Washington DC high school marching bands, walking politicians and a float by Washington’s team in the National Basketball Association, The Washington Wizards. They play at an arena called the Verizon Center, located in the middle of Chinatown

    “Being located right here at the Verizon Center in the middle of Chinatown, we’re located in close proximity to many of the businesses around here, and one of our main goals is to form a stronger relationship with many of the businesses around here. So we’re hoping to accomplish that. Last year was the first year we did a kind of outreach into the community with the Asian Heritage night, and this year, we’re actually taking part in the parade, something we’re very excited about, said Nick Creech, a spokesman for the Wizards. He says there are other reasons for the team’s, and the NBA’s support of the Chinese community

    “It started with Yao Ming came over. It really did open the gate for many Chinese players. Yao really paved the way and “E” came next. The NBA is huge in China. You’re seeing more and more players signing shoe deals in China. In fact our own player, JaVale Magee, has a show deal with Peak, the Chinese shoe company. They’are really making big inroads in the country," he said.

    There is an overriding theme in the parade said organizer Ed Chow, who is also the director of veteran’s affairs for the neighboring U.S. state of Maryland.

    “I think demonstrations like this parade, demonstrations of our various cultures to our larger community shows that we are part of our world, we are part of America and we would like to be here to contribute just like anybody else. My grandfather came here in 1880 , and because of that immigration pattern, I’m here today to participate in the greatest country in the world," he said.

    The hoped for changes that would make the parade much larger are in the planning stages for as soon as next year.
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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