Whilst the city of London has a long list of very British qualities and traditions, it’s easy to overlook some of the other more culturally diverse celebrations and traditions in the city. With the UK capital’s history of immigration and inclusivity, many cultures have established homes in London and provided a platform for many different religious and ethnic groups. After all, the city is the home of around 8.9 million people, many of whom have made their way here from other countries to set up businesses and families in the large and diverse
From hedonistic celebrations to religious observances, many of these unique festivals are open to the general public and to Brits to spectate or even take part in. With many of the festivals taking place in the city centre, guests at the Park Grand Hotel Hyde Park are easily within reach of these exciting, historic and all-round inclusive festivals.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year falls on different dates depending on the lunar calendar, but this year fell on the 25th of January. With each year representing a sign from the Chinese zodiac, a scheme of 12 signs that represent an animal and its personality traits, this year sees the welcoming of the Year of the Rat.
London’s Chinese New Year is especially exciting, what with Soho’s China Town already being a central London bastion of Chinese culture. Whilst this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations have been and gone, 2021 will see a blend of traditional Chinese parades, restaurant deals, fireworks and Chinese lantern lighting.
Celebrating the victory of light over darkness, this Hindu festival sees a range of lanterns, decorations and lights festoon celebrating neighbourhoods and homes throughout the months of October and November. Usually linked to the goddess of prosperity, Lakshmi, Diwali Festival in hundreds of countries around the world.
For Hindu guests staying at accommodation Hyde Park London, there are several central London locations for Diwali and related celebrations. The most prominent is in Trafalgar Square, where over 30,000 people attend a range of free performances and dances such as the hand-clapping Darba dance, alongside Indian food stalls and cultural workshops.
Other locations in which to celebrate Diwali in London include the Light Up The Night celebrations in Wembley Park, a medley of Bonfire Night and Diwali celebrations which sees lantern-making workshops, fireworks and parades of light-up butterflies troop through the North West London Park.
Eid Festival of Light
The Eid Festival of Light marks the day when Muslims break their month-long Ramadan fast. Falling on different days each year, Eid Festival sees celebrations of feasts, dancing and prayers, all in honour of one of the five pillars of Islam. The month of Ramadan is designed to be a period of reflection and Eid a celebration of community and dedication to the Muslim faith.
All are welcome to the Trafalgar Square-based Eid celebration each year. With traditional Muslim performances, food stalls and workshops, those from all faiths are welcome during the Eid day celebrations to learn more about the Muslim faith.
Holi Festival is another Hindu festival that has made its mark on Western culture in London. This festival is predominantly a celebration of the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring, celebrating, colour, love and hope. The festival usually sees an evening of religious observance before the next days free for all celebrations. These include smearing faces with colours and paint, as well as water fights designed to play with colour. These celebrations and festive frivolities are open to all and see all different kinds of people come together to play and celebrate as a community.
Holi in London has in the past been observed in a range of areas including Battersea, Feltham and Trafalgar Square. Many Indian restaurants in the city also host Holi celebrations, which this year will be celebrated on the 9th of March.
Naija in the Park
This celebration of Nigerian culture usually takes place in Finsbury Park and will see a range of Nigerian inspired performances, workshops and food stalls hitting the beautiful North London park during the summer. With sales of Nigerian arts and crafts as well as a range of talks and competitions, this is the perfect way for guests of London hotel offers to learn more about Nigerian culture and its influence on many parts of the city.
Oktoberfest is a Bavarian festival that is usually celebrated in Germany and Austria. Its roots lie in the marriage between King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810 when the two royals celebrated their marriage with a public festival held in front of Munich’s city gates. This became a yearly festival held in October and eventually formed into a travelling funfair. With Spiegeltents now popular at arts and cultural festivals around the Western world, the original came from the beautiful marquees and tents found at this 19th-century celebration.
Oktoberfest in London can be found at several sites and tickets can be bought year-round. These celebrations see classic German beers and music performances, alongside dancing and celebrations that celebrate German culture. Sites in London include Millwall on the Isle of Dogs, Moorgate and Camden.
Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill Carnival is a celebration of Black British and Afro Caribbean culture which is held on the bank holiday weekend at the end of August. With parades through West London, Afro Caribbean food stalls and DJ sets from DJ’s performing reggae, dancehall and garage, this is one of the most popular events for party lovers in the London summer calendar.
St Patrick’s Day
The 17th of March sees the St Patrick’s Day parade troop through London, celebrating the patron saint of Ireland in a suitably Guinness soaked fashion. With Irish culture so important to British culture, it’s no surprise to find that most Irish pubs in the city will be decorated to the rafters in green and will see a broad variety of live Irish country music performances, drinks and a whole city of hangovers come the 18th of March.