International student bloggers Chinese New Year

It has been a wonderful year here in London. I have been very busy with my course studying new things, going to new places and becoming a better journalist! Like you may already know, I study Journalism BA Honours and I am sharing with you my final project for one of my modules in Year 1. I have done a feature on the Chinese New Year 2016 in London. It was a great experience filming the wonderful celebration. I realised my journalistic capabilities and in all had a lovely experience. This was also when I got my first ever PRESS PASS! My professor helped me contact the right people and the university enabled me to access to the correct equipment and skills I needed.

I got to enjoy the multicultural vibe of London. At the Chinese New Year, you can see how global London is and how every culture thrives here. You can find my feature with text, videos and images from my project on my personal blog. Explore how London celebrated Chinese New Year 2016, and also please do look at my YouTube channel, like, share and subscribe to keep up with my London Dreams!

The world celebrated the Chinese New Year day on the 8th February 2016 and the celebrations begin in London with much fun and frolic. Sunday, 14th February 2016 marked the arrival of the Year of the Monkey in London with thousands of people from around the world heading to the capital as it hosted Europe’s biggest Chinese New Year celebrations. The customary grand parade began from the Trafalgar Square, snaking through the streets of London’s West End before reaching its ultimate destination- Chinatown. Here is a feature reporting the grand Chinese New Year 2016 celebrations in London, its present and its past.

Chinatown found itself at the centre of the New Year party with lion dances throughout the day and enthusiastic Londoners and world trotters enjoying the festivities. Stage performances began at midday in Trafalgar square with various performances and activities including acrobatics troupe, traditional Chinese Opera, Spring-festival dance, Chinese Youth Cultural Ambassadors and more. The square was lively and bright, in spite of the bad weather, with people from all around the world experiencing traditional craft stalls and authentic Asian cuisine food stalls.

We asked people about their experiences of the day and what they are looking forward to in this magnificent year of 2016! In the Vox Pops, they told us their hopes and wishes for the year of the Monkey and I couldn’t hope for any better.

History of Chinatown in London

The present area was not always the hip and bustling Chinatown it is today. The first area in London known as Chinatown was located in Limehouse area of East End London. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Chinese population was concentrated in this area, setting up businesses which catered to the Chinese sailors who frequented in the Docklands.

Unlike today, this area housed the then legal opium trade and slum housing, rather than restaurants and supermarkets. Much of the area was damaged by aerial bombing during the Blitz in the Second World War. After which, with growing popularity of Chinese culture and influx of immigrants from Hong Kong, the present Chinatown was established in the early 1970s. Today, Chinatown boasts over 80 restaurants showcasing some of London’s finest and most authentic Asian cuisine and a favourite hip destination for Londoners over weekends.

Year of the Monkey King

The Monkey King legend has featured in Chinese culture for many centuries and inspired many paintings, poems, television series and films. He is known to be immortal with immense strength, speed and skills, rivalling the gods. Wearing his headband, he protects the world with his magical 8-tonne shape-changing staff, while riding huge distances on the clouds in his flying boots.

The ninth of the 12 zodiac animals which appear in the Chinese Zodiac, people born on the years 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 and 2016 show characteristics of the Monkey Zodiac. Want to find out which year you are born in? Or what are the characteristics of your zodiac animal?

Tell us what animal you are or share your thoughts about the Chinese New year. Tweet to @ritujarao with #CNY2016

Comments

  • I enjoyed the video. I wish I had been in Shaftesbury Avenue to see all the procession. I never knew it was the monkey king, I presumed it was just the monkey. It’s interesting to know of the back story. Great article.

    • I am glad you enjoyed the video Chris. The history of Chinatown and chinese culture in general quite amuses me. I think culture back stories are my favourite kind of stories. I request you to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you’d like to watch more of my work. Thank you again!

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