In pictures: Tens of thousands celebrate Chinese New Year across UK

People in city centres across the UK welcomed the Year of the Dragon in the traditional Chinese calendar. Credit: PA

Tens of thousands of people across the UK turned out this weekend to watch dancing dragons and colourfully dressed street performers in celebration of Chinese New Year.

Spectators in London's Chinatown were treated to a blaze of red and gold with elaborate costumes, awakening lion dancing, street food stalls and Chinese arts and crafts as the capital welcomed the Year of the Dragon.

Celebrations were held in several other UK cities including Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Birmingham as they marked the holiday, also referred to as Lunar New Year.

Peter Yick Kuen Lam, president of the London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA), which organised Sunday's festival, said: “It is very important for us. Chinese New Year is just like Christmas. “It is a very special event for the Chinese community and a chance for us to have a good cultural exchange. “We can share our joyfulness with everyone. It is a chance to celebrate. Today is a special day for gathering.

The streets of Chinatown in London were filled with colourfully dressed performers. Credit: PA

Vincent Hong, 11, from Manchester, gets a close top look of a dragon ahead of the city's parade on Sunday. Credit: PA
More than 500,000 people were expected to attend celebrations in the capital. Credit: PA

“It is all red because red is a lucky colour, it is all red and gold. I hope it will give everyone happiness and the start to a prosperous new year. Peace and happiness is especially important.” More than 500,000 people were expected to enjoy the day’s celebrations, the organisers added. A traditional parade, complete with dragons, swirling dancers and handcrafted floats, kicked off the dizzying array of events in central London and its Chinatown neighbourhood. There were leaping acrobats dressed in elaborate dragon costumes, music and a dramatic electric firecracker display.

Performers dressed in lion costumes pitch up in Trafalgar Square. Credit: PA
Celebrations in Manchester's Chinatown on Sunday. Credit: PA

Performers prepare for the Dragon Parade in Manchester. Credit: PA

Some lucky children were seen clutching toy dragons and gold balloons while many visitors were given red envelopes as a symbol of good fortune. Senior figures including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, joined thousands of well-wishers in Trafalgar Square who watched an opening ceremony which included the “awakening” of colourful costumed lions. The Year of the Dragon is considered one of the most powerful and auspicious years in the Chinese zodiac, symbolising strength, fortune and success. The theme for the 2024 celebrations is Roaring into Sustainable Prosperity and Empowering Youth, the LCCA said.

Spectators gather for a lion dance performance on Saturday at St James Quarter, Edinburgh. Credit: PA

Thousands of people in Manchester marked the Year of the Dragon - a year of good prosperity, good fortune and good luck. Credit: PA
Dancers take part in celebrations in central London. Credit: PA

Mr Khan hailed the contribution of Londoners of Chinese origin and warned against those who want to “divide and discourage”. In a speech to the revellers in Trafalgar Square, he said: “Thank you for contributing to our city culturally, economically and socially. He added: “There are some people who try to divide our communities. We can’t let them succeed. We have got to show them that our diversity is a strength. “This Year of the Dragon is about good prosperity, good fortune and good luck – and don’t we just need that this year of all years.”

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