Chinese New Year in Canary Wharf: Royal China
"A lot of our customers know what Chinese New Year is about - they are even more excited than us," said Peter Ng, at the helm of Canary Wharf's Royal China for his 12th year of celebrations.
Red Chinese lanterns, horse images, colourful posters and mock firecrackers now adorn the restaurant in preparation for the impeding celebrations.
While today (Firday) is the key diary date for the start of the Year Of The Horse, the Westferry Circus restaurant will be extending the festivities to February 4, with a Lion Dance to dazzle customers enjoying an evening out.
Peter said: "It brings in the luck. Especially for businesses, it's a traditional celebration. There will be a green lettuce - with a money package inside - hanging from the ceiling and the lion will come inside and bow three times, then dance.
"When inside, it will come up to the lettuce, break it and throw the pieces - for the person who catches it it is good for their business. The lion will then walk around and there are packages on the table and some people put money in, and the lion will go to their table and bow to them. It's fun, that's all."
Diners at Royal China during the celebrations, and on February 4, will find a special menu on offer with traditional dishes such as raw salmon, pigs' trotters and oysters.
• Other places to celebrate Chinese New Year in London
Peter, born in the Chinese Year of the Pig, will be delaying his celebrations for the 2014 Year of the Horse until after the busy work rush. He said the significance of Chinese New Year to his fellow countrymen was huge.
He said: "It's the most important festival for the Chinese. New Year is where whole families re-unite, that's what it's all about.
"If some of the children have grown up and live somewhere else they all come together.
"And for the young kids, they'll go to their grandparents to visit, and the grandparents will give out the red envelopes. The packets have money in and it's lucky."
Royal China's Lion Dance will start at 7.30pm on February 4.
Go to royalchinagroup.biz for reservations or more information.
Year Of The Horse
So just what does the Year Of The Horse mean for all of us?
■ The Chinese Zodiac comprises 12 animal signs, with the horse being the seventh in the sequence.
■ In Chinese culture, the horse is a symbol of nobility, class, speed and perseverance.
■ People born in the Year Of The Horse are said to be smart, fabulous speakers who have a gift for getting through to other people.
■ People bearing the horse sign strive towards seeking freedom and happiness.
■ In general, 2014 should be a better year for those people who were born under the sign.
■ Horses love to be in a crowd and like entertainment, have a deft sense of humour, love to take centre stage and delight audiences everywhere.
■ They are trustworthy, friendly and like to be surrounded by their relatives and friends. They usually have a large circle of acquaintances.
■ They cannot bear too much constraint and lash out at others.
■ They can also be stubborn just like a horse and are wasteful since they are not good with matters of finance.