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Chinese New Year Parades Around The World Draw Huge Crowds

Around the world this weekend, cities as diverse as London and Chicago celebrated the Chinese New Year with parades attracting large crowds, and in some cases despite treacherous weather. The year is 4714, also dubbed the “Year of the Monkey” according to CBS Chicago.

In Chicago, despite bitter-cold temperatures and snow, hundreds of people showed up to see the Chinese New Year parade that went through the city’s Chinatown and didn’t ruin people’s enthusiasm for the festivities.

On Sunday, in London, a parade marched through Trafalgar Square to Chinatown starting at 10 a.m. (GMT). The Telegraph reported that food and craft stalls were set up, and 10 dancing “lions” weaved through the crowds heading towards Chinatown. Traditional Chinese music was provided by a windpipe group and traditional dances were performed by participants who danced with firecrackers.

The London Evening Standard reported that more music by the Szechuan Opera was also heard. At the end of the parade, fireworks were let off. Visitors then continued the celebrations by going to Chinatown’s restaurants and bars.

The parade, according to BBC News, is said to be the biggest anywhere in the world, outside of China.

“New Year’s Eve is here: no, not the kind where bouncers start fights and everyone until their legs give in, the one bursting with colour and sound,” said David Ellis, who said prior to the parade that spectators should expect it to be busy.

Ellis also noted that the Year of the Monkey won’t arrive again until 2028.

“Babies born this year will supposedly be sociable, lively, confident and honest, but may be prone to bouts of jealously and cunning,” said Ellis, who noted that other year of the Monkey births include notable people as diverse as Leonardo Di Vinci and Mick Jagger.

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Last year’s parade in the British capital was the largest in the Untied Kingdom, with help from 1,000 performers and volunteers and was organized by the London Chinatown Chinese Organization.

In the northern English city of Newcastle, thousands gathered to the city center for Chinese New Year celebrations. BBC News, reported that there was a traditional Dragon and Lion dance which brings good luck and stave off bad spirits. The dance was sponsored by the UK Choi Lee Fut Kung Fu Dragon and Lion Association. According to Chronicle Live, there were also kung-fu demonstrations, rides, food stalls, and fireworks in one of only five Chinatown neighborhoods in England. The festivities will continue into this week.

According to CBC News, tens of thousands people attended Vancouver’s 43rd Annual Lunar New Year parade despite rainy conditions for much of the day. In past years. the parade had attracted as many as 100,000 spectators.

“I think the rain might have some impact on the people,” said Jun Ing, an organizer of the parade. “I’m hoping to have at least half or even more.”

Despite this, 3,000 marchers representing 76 teams shuffled through Vancouver’s Chinatown neighborhood along with prominent politicians and staffers from CBC‘s Vancouver bureau who brought a balloon dragon.

Today in Flushing, Queens, despite record-low temperatures, many celebrated the Lunar Year with a parade and enjoyed themselves, according to CBS New York.

Christian Kim, a pastor for the New York Mosaic Church, marched for two hours in the parade and bundled up appropriately.

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On Saturday, around 150,000 Los Angeles residents celebrated the 117th annual Dragon Parade, according to The Los Angeles Times.

“It’s important to keep the culture and celebrate it the way we would do back in our communities,” said Connie Vuong, executive director for the area chamber of commerce. “To be able to be a part of this… is an amazing feeling.”

Chinese-born Tiffany Kim agrees and brought her three children to celebrate the Lunar Year. It is estimated to celebrated by around 1.5 million people of Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese ancestry.

“It’s nice because it shows them the Chinese culture, since we don’t get to go back a lot,” said Kim.

[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]