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How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in London During COVID-19

How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in London During COVID-19

Written by CindyUpdated Jan. 29, 2022

Chinese New Year is China's biggest celebration of the year, and as a result of the number of Chinese people living in and visiting London, there is plenty to do in London around this time of year too! There is no better introduction to Chinese culture if you've never been to China before, or no better reminder of your trip than getting involved in the festivities!

In 2022, Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, falls on 1 February 2022. This year we’ll be ushering in the Year of The Tiger. 

chinese new year in londonA Chinese New Year market: You'll see lots of red decorations in London's Chinatown during Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year 2022 Events in London

The usual Chinese New Year celebrations including the famous parade have been canceled for 2022 to cut the risks over further spreads of the Covid virus. Instead, the celebrations will take place on social media

Online celebrations

Follow #CNYLondon on social media channels for online celebrations from 31 January. Full details of the programme are yet to be confirmed.

Television broadcast

Watch a special television broadcast on London Live on 6 February. 

Chinatown food

Head to Chinatown where you’ll be able to shop for presents, enjoy on-the-go treats and sit down for a traditional Chinese New Year meal in one of Chinatown’s restaurants.

The London Eye

You can spot the London Eye illuminated in red and gold.

Light Festival at Battersea Power Station

 You can go to see Light Festival at Battersea Power Station, featuring six spectacular installations by artists from across the globe. The giant lanterns will be on display from January 13 until February 27. 

Some Other Events

  • CRATE at St James Street – a series of workshops to rejuvenate energy and promote mental wellbeing – 1 Feb
  • Lantern-making workshop at St Margaret’s House – a place to learn about the Lunar New Year and make a paper lantern – 30 January
  • A cocktail masterclass in Soho – run by “expert mixologists” in Peony Bar – 2 February
  • Lunar New Queer – Drag acts put on a show followed by a “Year of the Tiger Dance Party” – 5 February
  • Chinese New Year 2022 at Libertine Nightclub – This Mayfair club will host entertainment from the traditional Lion and Dragon dances to fire performances and other Chinese acts – 31 January
  • Lunar New Year Celebration at Old Spitalfield’s Market – They’ll celebrate the Year of Tiger with a unique selection of cultural workshops and presentations – 29/30 January and 5/6 February
  • Red envelopes at Bao – To celebrate, when you eat at BAO and order a lucky classic or daikon bun you will be given a red envelope with a prize inside – From 28 January to 13 February
chinese new year lion dance

When is Chinese New Year celebrated in London?

Because the dates of the Chinese New Year follow the lunar calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar, dates change every year. This year, Chinese New Year falls on 1 February 2022. On Chinese New Year's Eve (this year on January 31), families usually have big reunion dinners together after everyone has traveled home from far, and give lucky envelopes (also known as red packets) to the kids in the family. 

The next day (officially Day 1 of Chinese New Year), is usually spent offering sacrifices to ancestors, as well as setting off firecrackers with the family.

Other days leading up to the main festivities, as well as the days after, you'll still find Chinatown beautifully decorated and everyone in high spirits!

Chinese New Year celebration

How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in London?

In other years, the event was usually the biggest celebration of Chinese New Year outside Asia. People can usually find displays, food stalls with traditional Chinese foods, performances, and a parade for Chinese New Year. The main stage for performances was a fantastic way to gain an introduction to Chinese dance and music as there was plenty to see from some of the most talented British-Chinese performers.

Chinese new year parade in londonChinese New Year dragon dance

Why not also spend this time in the area to visit one of your favorite Chinese restaurants (or explore somewhere new) to enjoy Chinese cuisine? While many of the restaurants in Chinatown to cater to British tastes, there are lots of wonderful things to eat!

One more option to celebrate the Lunar New Year: the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. You can go to Greenwich or take part online with their fantastic free programme designed for all ages. You will see a colourful and joyful range of performances celebrating Lunar New Year and the musical traditions, look at the significance of the moon and various symbols and traditions related to the festive period, and learn more about Cantonese opera. 

Where to celebrate Chinese New Year in London and how to get there?

In other years, Chinatown and West London were the center of the Chinese community in London and this was where celebrations took place.

To get to London's Chinatown, take the tube and get off at Leicester Square Tube Station (serviced by the Northern and Piccadilly Lines), Covent Garden Tube Station (serviced by the Piccadilly Line), Piccadilly Circus (serviced by the Bakerloo and the Piccadilly Lines), or Tottenham Court Road Tube Station (serviced by the Central and Northern Lines).

Chinese New Year lion dance

The parade usually starts from Charing Cross Road and goes all the way through Shaftesbury Avenue into Chinatown. There is no entry fee for the parade or celebrations on Trafalgar Square, and the parade will start at 11:00 in the morning and run through to 16:30 in the afternoon. If you want to get a good spot, please ensure to get there early as it is a very popular parade and it gets busy! This is also a good thing to keep in mind if you're traveling down to the celebrations with children.

The main stage for performances is in Trafalgar Square, while other stages can be found on Shaftesbury Avenue and on Charing Cross Road. Trafalgar Square celebrations will kick off with a ceremony to give thanks to sponsors and the community, as well as firecrackers and a Lion's dance ceremony which is always incredible to watch as it takes so many performers to work closely together.

Further Reading

Family reunion dinners are so important during Chinese New YearFamily reunion dinners are so important during Chinese New Year
  • Interested in finding out more about why the year 2022 is also known as the Year of the Tiger according to Chinese New Year traditions? Read more about the Chinese Zodiac here.
  • Not sure where to start to find out more about Chinese New Year in general, regardless of whether you are in London or China? We've summarized Facts about the Chinese New Year.
  • Before you head off to join in the Chinese New Year celebrations or visit your friends at their houses during this important time of the year, make sure to read up about the traditions' taboos to ensure that you don't embarrass yourself!
  • For a more in-depth day-by-day rundown of the festivities in a Chinese family, see our day-to-day guide here.
  • Certain foods are eaten for certain reasons during Chinese New Year, find out more about why people eat specific types of Chinese food, and which foods these are, here.
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