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Performers pose for graphs in their lion costume backdropped by the London Eye during a call in London, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. The London Eye was illuminated with red lighting Thursday evening to mark the start of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Horse, on Friday. [Photo/icpress.cn]
LONDON -- London Eye, the landmark of London City, for the frist time transformed its usual blue lights into red and gold on Thursday evening to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, which falls on January 31.
In a cold drizzle, people stopped by the giant Ferries whell on the South Bank of the River Thames. Among them are many Chinese who came to witness the change of lights for the Spring Festival celebrations.
Before the lights turned into red, several performances including singing, martial art and lion dance were held under the Eye.
A team with ten children from the Risley Avenue Primary School, who wore the vibrant red coat with gold circle patterns, sang Chinese traditional song Happy New Year (Xinnianhao) for the audiences at the scene.
"The children did very well," said Robert Singh, head teacher of the school, especially given that "Teachers taught them the song just one week ago." He said kids at his school are multinational and share multi-culture.
"We appreciate the Chinese traditional culture...we'd like to make more people respect Chinese culture by singing the song on the eve of the Chinese New Year," said Robert.
Jiang Tao, executive director of the National Young Cultural Ambassador Activities, on Thursday led his about 60-strong children performance team from Beijing to London Eye to sing a song and entered the capsule of the Eye.
They were invited to give Beijing opera performances in London in the following days for the Chinese New Year's celebration.
Fireworks explode at the London Eye in central London just after midnight to mark the start of the New Year on 1 January, 2014. [Photo/icpress.cn]
Jiang, who is spending his first Spring Festival outside the Chinese mainland, said he was much impressed by the richness of celebrations for the Chinese New Year in London's Chinatown, which has been decorated with red lanterns and colorful banners.
"I'm so proud and excited to see that the London Eye changed the color for the Chinese New Year in particular, which will also inspire the young players in my team," he said.
Qiao Bang, a young Taiwanese who is studying in London, visited the London Eye with his girlfriend on Thursday, and was stunned by the beauty of the lights.
"I miss festival meals at my home in Taiwan so much, which usually includes many fish and chips," said Qiao, adding that Chinese students in his university would have a small celebrating party for the Spring Festival.
A series of activities, including the New Year's Parade, performances such as acrobatics, traditional dances and a gravity-defying lion dance on high poles, will be held in West End, Chinatown and Trafalgar Square for festival celebration.