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Chinese New Year Under the Lights of London

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There are many varied ways to build relationships and experience other cultures just outside the door of your student accommodation. London is renowned for its engagement with large numbers of multicultural celebrations, and high on its list is the Chinese New Year. The city has a flourishing Chinese community as well as a reputation for parties, so this is a great opportunity to make friends and have a good time.

The Details

Though the actual date of the New Year this year is 5 February, the celebrations in London will be taking place Sunday 10 February in honour of the Year of the Pig. For the past 20 years, the Chinese community in the city has been hosting increasingly diverse and awe-inspiring festivities in multiple locations – so there’s bound to be something happening close by to your student accommodation. London will be alive with this celebration of culture, which is said to even rival the English celebrations which take place at the end of December for the title of best annual party.

Locations

There are three main points where the celebrations will be – though like all great events the action will likely spread to other areas. The best attractions are:

• Shaftesbury Avenue – Here you can find a range of martial arts demonstrations and a host of eclectic musical performances.

• Leicester Square – This is an area great for children, so if you are staying with a host family who has younger members this is a great suggestion for a night out together. You will see everything from performers dressed up as zodiac animals to craft stalls.

• Trafalgar Square – Among the acrobats and dancers at this famous landmark, there will be lots of stalls serving traditional Chinese cuisine.

Celebrate!

Many of the traditions associated with Chinese New Year are great ways to have fun and build your relationships with friends and host families. The best way to participate is probably to dress up for the parades by wearing red or even paint your face to resemble a pig. This might be an enjoyable activity to do with a host family, bringing everyone together in a shared experience.

If you’re not one for costumes, why not indulge in some authentic decorations instead? Red in particular is said to bring luck to a house and with so much available in London’s famous Chinatown you’re more than likely to easily find a meaningful gift in that hue. Having a whole chicken for dinner (don’t forget to invite your host family of course!) is also a tradition – not to mention a delicious way to share this brilliant experience with others.

I find that when you step outside your student accommodation, London is a city that has so much diversity to offer. Why not become a part of it and celebrate the Year of the Pig in style?
About author: Desiree Michels

Sophie Smith works as an independent consultant and offers advice to young people looking for London-based student accommodation. London has a wide range of options when it comes to student living, and Sophie’s helpful suggestions make deciding where to stay even easier. Her expert tips and tricks stem from her first-hand experience studying in the city and living on a budget, so she is more than qualified to support others doing the same.

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