Chinese New Year celebrations are returning to Lancaster including a variety show and carnival.
The Lancaster Chinese New Year Variety Show takes place on Saturday January 27 at the Lancaster Grand from 7pm to 9pm and tickets are on sale now.
This year is the Year of the Dragon and organisers Popber say the evening will showcase the rich tapestry of Chinese culture.
LISTEN to organiser Josh Leung talking about this year's events
Highlights will include traditional Chinese dance performed by both local talents and national-level artists, melodious Chinese music played by renowned musicians, Kunshan Opera featuring skilled performers who masterfully blend music, singing, and acting, and diverse singing performances.
The carnival will take place in Lancaster on Sunday February 4 in Market Square and St Nic's Arcade from 10am to 4pm.
There will be a range of performances showcasing traditional and contemporary Chinese arts, workshops for all ages. an array of food stalls offering delicious treats and unique crafts, gifts, and more.
The official opening ceremony takes place at noon on the plinth in Market Square followed by the lion and dragon parade around the city centre.
Among the new free attractions in St Nicholas Arcades will be a role play workshop where festivalgoers can hold and move the colourful giant heads of the dragon and lion.
St Nicholas Arcades will host free Touhu or Pitch Pot too, a game where arrows are thrown into a bamboo pot.
Also new will be a catwalk display of traditional Chinese dress by Arts of China on the Market Square plinth during the afternoon as well as kung fu and dance demonstrations.
Visitors can try on some Chinese costumes and have their photos taken in the photo booth in the Square and there will be opportunities to have a go at Chinese calligraphy too.
For the past three years, Lancaster’s Chinese New Year Festival has been organised by Popber, a Community Interest Company set up to help businesses in the city and supported by Chinese students from Lancaster University.
“I think it’s very important to share our culture with everyone in Lancaster,” said Josh Leung, one of Popber’s founders who has been supported by Yilin Wu and Percy Lee.
“It’s also important as it brings a feeling of home for many of the Chinese students living in Lancaster. New Year is like Christmas back home, it’s a time of reunion.”
The free festival is a non-profitable event and is funded by Lancaster University, Lancashire County Council, Lancaster University Confucius Institute, Lancaster BID, St Nicholas Arcades, Lancaster University Management School, Berry’s Jewellers and Hainan Airlines.
The origins of the Chinese New Year are steeped in legend.
One legend is that thousands of years ago a monster named Nian (“Year”) would attack villagers at the beginning of each new year. The monster was afraid of loud noises, bright lights, and the colour red, so those things were used to chase the beast away.
Celebrations to usher out the old year and bring forth the luck and prosperity of the new one, therefore, often include firecrackers, fireworks, and red clothes and decorations. Young people are given money in colourful red envelopes.
2024 is the Year of the Dragon. Anyone born in 1940, 1952, 1964,1976, 1988, 2000, 2012 or 2024 is likely to be energetic, wise, adventurous and can be temperamental and impulsive.