Thousands of people crowded into London's Soho area on Sunday (20 February) to mark the Chinese New Year.
GV & SV People and decorations in London's Chinatown (7 shots)
SV Lord Mayor and Mayoress of Westminster arriving at Trafalgar Square
GV Lion dance watched by crowd (3 shots)
GV Dragon dance watched by crowd, and musicians (4 shots)
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Background: Thousands of people crowded into London's Soho area on Sunday (20 February) to mark the Chinese New Year. It began on Thursday (18 February) and Sunday was the end of the official celebrations.
SYNOPSIS: The festivities were centred on Gerard Street, the Chinatown area of London. The street was brightly decorated in traditional style, to welcome in the "Year of the Snake" -- according to Chinese horoscopes, that means a year of wise solutions to political and diplomatic problems.
Among the official guests were the Lord Mayor and Mayoress of Westminster.
A colourful display of traditional dancing was given at nearby Trafalgar Square. The Lion dance was the first to take place.
But probably the most exciting for the large crowd was the Dragon dance. It was supposedly the first time it has been performed in Britain and it has been performed in Britain and it was a tribute from the Hong Kong Chinese community to the Queen on her Silver Jubilee. A new 140-foot dragon was specially made in Hong Kong and given to the Chinese by the Hong Kong government.
But the new dragon had to undergo a minor operation before it could dance. Traditionally it is "blind" and, according to ancient Chinese belief, can't see until its eyes have been painted in. That ceremony was performed in. That ceremony was performed by the Lord Mayor.