Although the New Year begins today, the British capital will welcome the Year of the Dog on Sunday 18 February 2018. The capital is attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world to what is considered the largest celebration outside Asia.

Free-to-attend festivities and activities will be running between 10am and 6pm in London. The emblematic Chinese New Year Parade will begin at 10am up to Shaftesbury Avenue. From Trafalgar Square, the two-hour long display features traditional dragons and flying lion dances, becoming the biggest public parade in Europe, with its final stop being Chinatown.

From noon, the day will be filled with a wide variety of stage performances in Trafalgar Square. Firecrackers, screenings and thanksgiving ceremonies will mark the arrival of the Chinese New Year in London.

“Exclusive shows will featured throughout the day. Best artists and celebrities from China will be found in Trafalgar Square like the famous soprano He Wu or the TV personality and Fashion Stylist Gok Wan,” says a spokesperson from the London Chinatown Chinese Association.

Acrobatics and traditional dances alongside with street food stalls and promotional stands with Chinese goodies will live up every corner of iconic London’s Chinatown.

The traditional Chinese New Year starts every 23rd day of the 12th month of the Chinese Lunar calendar, with the Year of the Dog happening every 12 years. This year marks the first year of the alleged “Earth Dog” year since 1958.

Occupying the 11th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Dog symbolises kindness and compatibility. People born in the year of this friendly animal are believed to be brave, loyal and have a strong sense of justice. This is portrayed in their extreme faithfulness to their lovers and strong respect towards other’s opinions.