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Two students take on the joyful, bustling celebrations of Lunar New Year in London

From Diwali, Oktoberfest and Carnival to Lunar New Year in London:  Two students’ take on celebrating this outstanding festival in London

As always, this year saw London go full-swing in celebrating the biggest Lunar New year festival outside of Asia.  It’s so widely celebrated here in London with grand parades, dance and stage shows, traditional firecrackers, opera performances and lighting displays - that it’s now become a really important part of the British event calendar and attracts people from all over Europe. 

Lucky for us, our students from all over the world love celebrating Lunar New Year and here are two who share with us their experience.


Denis, France

What did you do to celebrate Lunar New Year in London?

I went to visit China Town to see the atmosphere, to see the celebrations and everything.  It was like a huge and warm atmosphere, restaurants were full, even In the middle of the afternoon on Sunday.  My classmates from Taiwan invited me to their house, they told me they would gamble because this is a big tradition.

Did you learn anything interesting about the Asian culture?

I learnt from my classmates that back home they cook many different dishes, and each meal means something different – there's something for luck, something for the health.  Also, you would cook seafood for a reason but I can’t remember what that is because I have the memory of a goldfish!  My school mates also received gifts in the post from their family, like food.

Is this different to the French culture?

Our biggest celebration is Christmas and Easter.  During Easter, we eat lamb and go on Easter Egg hunts in the garden.  But in Paris, you will celebrate Lunar New Year in a big area, like in the main district of Paris, but in London the area is smaller, more beautiful and warmer.  Lots of people from all over the world celebrate Lunar New Year in Paris, they enjoy the food and watch dragon shows –everybody is welcome. 

How did you feel about celebrating Lunar New Year in London?

I felt welcome because the atmosphere was so warm.  Everyone is welcome to walk around China Town so it was very busy and full of character.  It’s similar to our New Year but on a larger scale.  For me, it was totally new and I didn’t know what to expect.  It was like being at a big party, nice atmosphere and beautiful decorations. 


Lu Lin-Chen (Sandy), Taiwan

What did you do to celebrate Lunar New Year in London?

I prepared some Chinese dishes and invited several friends to have a reunion dinner with me. 

What was the best thing about celebrating Lunar New Year in London?

It allowed me to show my foreign friends the customs and traditions of the Chinese New Year celebrations back in my home country. 

How different is Lunar New Year here to the celebrations in your home country?

It was a bit different because in Taiwan, the celebrations start from New Year’s Eve to Lantern Festival.  For example, my whole family would reunite together and eat sumptuous dishes on New Year’s Eve.  After, I would make a New Year’s visit to my relatives who would give me a red envelope with money for the start of the year.  We would then spend our time worshipping our ancestors and deity. 

What would you typically eat during Lunar New Year and were you able to find it here?

Typically I would eat hot-pot, seafood and dumplings in my country.  In contrast, the dishes here were a bit simpler.

What 3 words for you, sum up Lunar New Year in London?

I would say – unique, different feeling and special.