Europe is already buzzing with festive spirit as celebrations for Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, kick off ahead of the official date on February 10. The Year of the Dragon promises an exciting time for residents and visitors alike, with various events and activities spreading the joy across the continent.
In the heart of London, 50 iconic red buses adorned with the “Nihao China” national tourism image, the Happy Chinese New Year logo, and the auspicious Chinese dragon image, are weaving through landmarks like Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. This mobile celebration is a unique way to extend Spring Festival blessings to everyone in the city and beyond, creating a vibrant atmosphere.
Londoners have been treated to spectacular Lunar New Year celebrations at the National Maritime Museum, featuring lion dances, tea tasting ceremonies, Lunar New Year storytelling, and even mahjong playing. The British Science Museum also joined the festivities with its own celebration, showcasing the diversity of activities taking place to mark this special occasion.
Food enthusiasts in London had the opportunity to indulge in a Chinese cuisine tasting event at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel. Four master chefs from the Shenzhen Culinary Association delighted guests by introducing the characteristics of Cantonese Cuisine, explaining cooking methods, and even inviting attendees to prepare and taste the traditional Chinese Year’s Eve dinner. It was a delicious and educational experience that brought the flavors of Chinese culture to the heart of London.
In Budapest’s Chinatown, a delegation from China’s southwest province of Chengdu showcased a range of traditional Chinese arts, including the intricate craft of painting the inside of glass bottles and the culinary artistry behind Szechuan-styled stuffed buns. For some, like a man from Kecskemet in Central Hungary, the event was a way to keep the cultural connections alive, having lived in China for four years and even having their son born in Beijing.
Moving to Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, a lively folklore event titled “Dancing Dragon Welcomes Spring” took place at the China Cultural Center. The event featured artistic performances, traditional Chinese games, and a tantalizing tasting session of Chinese cuisine. Wang Min, charge d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria, highlighted the significance of the dragon as a symbol of prosperity, strength, nobility, and luck during the celebrations.
In Madrid, a concert featuring Chinese songs and world classic opera excerpts enchanted audiences at the National Music Auditorium. The Choir of the Shenzhen Dance and Opera Theater performed folk songs like “Jasmine Flower” and “Hymn of Eight Horses”, alongside well-known opera excerpts. Attendees expressed their love for the cultural exchange through music, showcasing the beauty of sounds from different parts of the world.
Jose Lorenzo, an attendee from the Spanish city of Cordoba, appreciated the initiative to strengthen cultural ties between China and Spain. He also expressed gratitude for the visa exemption policy by the Chinese government for Spain, hoping for reciprocity to encourage more Chinese tourists to visit Spain. The celebration of Chinese New Year in Europe is not just a cultural extravaganza but also a bridge connecting diverse communities and fostering mutual understanding.