Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Unique CNY Celebration in London

A Unique Chinese New Year Celebration

Just finished a marvellous reunion dinner here in Ipoh (Thank you for all that cook it) and was watching CNY program in Astro just now. Somehow, I felt that I should post something on my blog on CNY. As my blog's theme is about travelling, so I thought it will be cool to share the unique experience that I have celebrating this festive season in London three years ago. Here it goes... cheers mate!! Happy Chinese New Year too.

From Evelyn Garden, South Kensington, together with a bunch of university mates we headed to west-end London where the famous Chinatown is in Bus 14. When we arrive at Chinatwon, the street was already filled a huge crowd. In fact, there was a good blend of races. In fact, more non Chinese there than Chinese!

The main street of China Town was nicely decorated with many red latterns. Make-shift stalls were set-up to sell chinese and oriental delicacy towards the end of Chinatown. Most of the shops and restaurants put up CNY decoration. Restaurant waitresses dressed up in traditional red or gold colour cheong-sum trying to attract tourists to have meals there. Dim sum restaurants were packed with patrons and tourists eagering to enjoy Cantonese style dim-sum in the heart of London. CNY in Chinatown is bustling and full of fun!!!

To my pleasant surprise, I found a stall that was selling Malaysian's favorite food - sate with peanut source. One pound for one stick. That is RM7.2 for one Sate!!! Haha.. what to do.. it is one of my favorite foods since I studied in Uniten and stayed in Kajang fpr 3 years - a town that serves the best sate in Malaysia. So, I got myself two sticks. Hymmm.. it was not as good those back home but they surely satisfied my urge for sate. Hahaha.. :P

Left: Shops selling CNY decorations
Right: Enjoying my Chicken Sates

Left: Chinese Latterns were everywhere
Right: Let's post with the free ballon in front of Chinese Pavillion

Hou Jue, Me and Yuen Hang posting at the Chinatown Archway

Leicester Square
After sampling some food in Chinatown, we moved on to Leicester Square. This square was famous because of many International movies were premiered here. From time to time, there are barricades being set-up to lay red carpet for celebrities and movie critics attending movie premieres here. But, on this day the crowd that gathered here are no movie fan but the curious ones awaiting to witness the only legitimate large scale fire crackers show in London. Haha... security was quite tight and the workers were busy making last minute safety check before the show.

Soon, the fire crackers were litted by using remote control and instantly the loud fire crackers sound spiced up the CNY environment there. Occasionally, I could also hear and see children that cried their way towards their parent because of being shocked by the crackers! At the finale of the show, the crowd cheered in excitement and applauded the effort done by the organizer (Chinese Assembly of London and City Hall) when the final and huge cracker exploded in fasionably loud "ka boom". :)

Immediately, after the fire cracker show ended came a group of all-non-chinese dragon dance team parading in red shirts accompined in the constant beats of Chinese drums. Cool huh! Non Chinese performing dragon dance. Something you don't get in Malaysia. :) Of course, there are the "Chinese" Man and Woman clowns that followed the dragon with occasional comical actions and teasers that brought out laughters from the spectators. :)

Left: Ang Mo Dragon Dance
Right: Chinese Man and Woman Clown

Not forgetting this cool old Chinese man in traditional Sum-fu (Chinese costume) and hat standing with his colourful Chinese fans. He was showing off his skill in spinning all the fans which drawn curious tourists towards him. He even offered the tourists to try out his cool gadget. :) It was quite heavy though... :)

Trafalgar Square
In the centre of Trafalgar Square, a huge stage was erected for numerous Chinese cultural shows. Among the shows are Chinese Fan Dance, Lion dance, Chinese Acrobats and etc. The bright sunny day in the mid-winter was warm and it gave us a perfect environment to enjoy the performance together with some hundreds of other tourists from all over the world. The effort of the Chinese in London to promote Chinese Culture in central London is definitely a good mean to promote understanding among different races as London attracts a huge amount of tourists from every part of the world yearly.

To all the friends that joined me there, thank you for the precious moment I have had there even though I was far away from my family back in Malaysia.

To those who read my blog during CNY, I would like to say ...

Happy Chinese New Year 2007
~ Elvin Ong ~
I will be off for one week.


miriam said...

Wanna pick up more travel tips from you.

Elvin Ong said...

Hi Miriam,
You are most welcome to read my travel blog. I hope the information I posted so far is helpful.
I am part-time blogger. So, my posting will be slow. If you want to know specific area feel free to mention it here. If I can cover it, I will. :)