Londoners from all backgrounds gather in the West End to mark the Lunar New Year with a parade and one of the largest lion dances ever seen in Europe. Diane Hodges reports.
Tourism officials say it's the largest Lunar New Year celebration in the world outside of Asia. London's Chinese New Year festivities attract thousands of people to shop, eat, and watch a massive parade through the West End. Organizers say this Lion dance, featuring a group of ten teams, is the largest ever performed in a public parade in Europe. They're celebrating the beginning of the Year of the Monkey, so the parade is presided over by...The Monkey King. The event attracts people from all backgrounds, who come to mark the occasion, and just enjoy the spectacle. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LONDON RESIDENT, JUDE RATO, SAYING: "This particular parade, I love it because it is very colorful. The reason I believe in the Chinese new year, is because it is a time of new beginnings." (SOUNDBITE) (English) RESIDENT OF ENGLISH TOWN OF MARGATE, SIMON WHITE, SAYING: "I think it's the sheer size of it and the spirit it generates in the people standing around it. As you can see, people come from all over the world to see this vibrant atmosphere and it's a celebration that goes on for the entire day. The families enjoy it and the kids - they love it." In Chinese culture, the color red symbolizes good fortune and joy, qualities that were both on vivid display at the parade.