Chinese New Year 2014 – pt. 1

I admit it. When I woke up this morning (who needs to get out of bed before 11 on a Sunday anyway?), I was tempted to be lazy and have a quiet Sunday in the comfort of my room, not doing much except for the few hours I would have to spend studying.

However, I knew that the celebration for the Chinese New Year would be taking place in Chinatown this weekend, so I felt torn between the need to be lazy and potentially missing out on what would be a really unique experience for me. Luckily (and should I say, also wisely) I chose to ditch the pyjamas and headed for Leicester Square with my friend C.

And it really did turn out to be an amazing experience to see all those people celebrating on a Sunday where most of the streets will normally be found fairly empty. There were Chinese decorations and red-gold lanterns everywhere, fantastic smells coming from the many food tables selling fried noodles and spring rolls and children dressed up in Chinese customes as they paraded down the street.
At one of the tables me and my friend found an old man painting people’s names in traditional Chinese calligraphy. It was pretty fascinating to see him paint the (to me) complicated signs. There was also big a dragon doing a traditional parade dance to the accompaniment of drums but I’m afraid I only got to see the actual dancing in small glimpses when the dragon towered over the crowd of people for a few seconds before it disappeared from view again.

I bought a small good luck cat charm for myself along with a little red lantern to decorate my room with and the almost mandatory paper dragon-on-a-stick that everyone seemed to be walking around with.
We went home when the crowds became a little too much for us but I will definitely come back to Chinatown on a more quiet day to explore the shops there a bit more. The walk home through the lively streets of Soho and Bloomsbury while chatting with C was pretty good, too. *

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