11:35am Monday 4th February 2013
By Asian Image reporter
Traditional lanterns, parading dragons and dancing lions will transform Manchester this weekend as the Chinese New Year celebrations welcome the Year of the Snake.
Thousands of people are expected to take to the streets and bid farewell to the auspicious Year of the Dragon and look ahead to the Year of the Snake – symbolising a period of ambience – with special events on Sunday, 10 February and Friday, 15 February.
The Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester (FCAM), in association with Manchester City Council and other sponsors, have organised the new year events, including the much anticipated street parade and festival that promises an oriental transformation of the city centre.
Last year more than 50,000 people were wowed by the traditional Chinese performances, exhibitions and authentic market and food stalls - all culminating in a tremendous 15 minute firework display.
The free event will open the Chinese New Year celebrations, welcoming back Master Chu’s* spellbinding Dragon Parade and Lion Dances – including a 175ft Chinese Dragon – as they make their colourful journey from Manchester Town Hall to China Town at 1.00pm – before entertaining the crowds with performances throughout the afternoon at each location and culminating with a tremendous 15 minute firework display Albert Square and China Town will also be filled with street markets, food stalls and arts and crafts workshops from 11am – as well as a fair ground and traditional Chinese arts such as calligraphy, origami, tangrams and other games to immerse the whole family in Chinese culture.
The fireworks will provide a fitting grand finale to a magical day of Chinese tradition at 6pm in China town.
Celebrations will continue the following Friday, 15 February, with an impressive live show at Manchester Central that will include a world renowned Chinese performing arts troupe – the National Art and Dance Troupe – wowing the crowds with an array of traditional Chinese arts, acrobatics, folk songs, dancing and magic.
Tickets are available for the show through the Chi Yip Group on 0161 655 3600 and Chinese restaurants and supermarkets in China Town – priced between £10 and £15.
Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s City Centre Spokesperson, said: "Each year the city centre undergoes the most wonderful oriental transformation and the New Year celebrations have become one of the most anticipated events in Manchester’s calendar.
"The Chinese community have helped shape the very fabric of Manchester and are incredibly important to the heritage of the city, playing a large part in Manchester’s history – so it is always great to see the culture being celebrated as a public festival for everyone to enjoy.”
Mr Stewart Yip, President of the Federation, said: "Every year we organise celebrations for major traditional Chinese festivities like Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day. Through these activities and events we raise the understanding and appreciation of Chinese Culture in the UK and enhance the link between local communities.
"This year being the Year of the Snake, which is thought to be the origin of our deities, a lot of planning and preparations and efforts have been made to make this year's celebration a day full of fun and excitement at Chinatown and Albert Square.
"I must give a vote of thanks to our sponsors for their unwavering support throughout and especially in these years when the economy has been so hard hit by the downturn of the world economy. With their support the Chinese New Year celebrations are always held with great joy and success.”
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