Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Yo China!

Everybody loves momos. You, I, Kungfu Panda, all of us. But if you want to see r-e-a-l big ones and experience the sights & sounds of China Town, come along...I was at the Chinese New Year celebration this Sunday. The biggest one that is celebrated outside of China.

The Chinese New year is also called the Spring Festival as it marks the end of winter & onset of spring. 23rd Jan was the date in 2012(in 2013 it will fall on 10th Feb); it was a week-long  celebration in London from 23rd Jan-29th Jan.

Painting the town red never seemed so literal before! We reached Leicester Square tube station & from there walked to China Town, barely a five minutes walk. Another matter that it took us over 20 mins because we were following The Dragon!

The well-behaved crowd following the procession was global one. London is cosmopolitan in the true sense of the wor(l)d.

As everybody painted the town red, there were some who painted it mauve too :)

This is till where the procession went till it turned back & we decided to savour the  sights & smells for a while longer.

2012 is the Year of the Dragon, considered the luckiest year in the Chinese zodiac. Dragon symbolizes excellence & uniqueness. This is the only mythical animal sign, all others being real animals. Dragon spews fire when angry, so people born under this sign can be hot headed. Don't meddle with them, say the Chinese.

Traditionally, the Chinese celebrate their New Year with a 15 day celebration, the last day being observed as Lantern festival day. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns.

       China Town offers
these colourful sights this
time of the year. 
As we go along with the procession, we almost stop! What are these?! These are called buns here. They come in all types-Pork, chicken, red bean, Chinese chive & vegetable.
You barely recover from stupefaction when you spot this!
Hong Kong Special Waffle.

And just when we thought we'd seen our share of unique food, we spot these!Sticks, true to their name.

                                                                                       The delight of food is second to none!Did we have the time of our life :)

Elsewhere in China Town we also saw regular momos being made in an eatery.

The gift shops did brisk business.
                          Chinese horoscopes were a special attraction



The fortune cookies,the  Chinese drums & the paper & rubber dragons held special fascination for the children. 

The celebrations were in two venues- Shaftesbury Avenue(12.00-16.30) & Trafalgar Square(10.15-17.40). After the parade of colourful floats moved from Trafalgar to Rupert Street, each locale had its set of cultural events. 
After the parade & our China Town merry-making , we headed towards Trafalgar. En route we stopped at the Wishing Well, where a throng was being thrown these 'money bags' that they had to throw back so that they hung on the tree.

Amazing how festivities break barriers & help shed inhibitions. Never are parents as child-like as when there are games to play & money bags to throw!

Trafalgar Square had its fair share of lanterns & performances. Various dance troupes, orchestra & even a Shaolin performance kept the audience enthralled.

The comperes took at dig at Pipa Middleton's anatomy referring to the the stringed instruments(left) called Pipa!

The celebrations had their grand finale with fireworks & everyone present was unanimous that the day was hun bang, very good. And if I've learnt any Chinese that day, I should wish all my Chinese friends Kung hey fat choy!

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