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. The Chinese New Year parade makes it way through central London today in all its colourful glory 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.' Different Chinese years are represented by different zodiac animal signs - and last Monday saw the start of the Year Of The Dragon 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. The Chinese New Year parade makes its way past t Martin in the Field Church in central London as crowds clap and take photos 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.