London’s celebration for the Lunar New Year, which are always an early highlight in the West End, have been scaled back for 2022. After 2021’s complete cancellation of the event (due to lockdown), it’s another major blow for the hundreds of thousands that turn out each year to honour the occasion.
Celebrations for the Lunar New Year in London are the biggest in the world outside of Asia, with people flocking in from all over the UK and abroad. Sadly, as the year of the Ox becomes the year of the Tiger on February 1, marking the first major event in London’s tourist calendar, festivities have been forced to be moderated.
Although the hallmark parade has been cancelled, a smaller-scale lion dance and night market at Newport Place in Chinatown is still expected to go ahead, with pre-recorded performances on video screens.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, senior figures of London’s Chinese community explained that it isn’t practical to plan for full-scale plans as long as Plan B measures, including mask wearing and working from home, remain in place to curb the spread of the Omicron variant. Plan B will not be reviewed again until January 26, leaving only six days before the event.
This would mean that the usual parade, which starts at Charing Cross Road before the procession through Shaftesbury Avenue, would not be able to take place as normal. Moreover, performances and the lion-eye dotting ceremony in Trafalgar Square would also be off the cards.
Edmund Yeo, chairman of the Chinese Information and Advice Centre, said: “The virus is still very much in people’s minds so it’s impossible to do it on the scale we have in previous years.”
With the parade cancelled it’s another devastating blow, and one can only hope that, come 2023, the full-scale celebrations will be back in all their usual glory.
Follow Secret London for further updates on the Lunar New Year event next month.