The Chinese New Year has now become an important festival throughout the world. Every year people from all around the world anticipate this celebration and mark the date in red in their calendars. Manchester is amongst the many cities and countries which organize some kind of event, festivity or celebration to observe the Chinese New Year.
Everybody taking part
Organizing the celebrations for the Chinese New Year in Manchester is not just the responsibility of the Chinese community or of the local authorities. In Manchester everybody joins in and adds their grain of sand to transform these days into a real celebration and to transform the city into another Chinese town. For four days, from 26th January 2017 to 29th January 2017, the streets will be filled with lights, colour (red in particular), food and arts and crafts all connected with the "Sleeping Giant". Additionally, to get everybody as involved as possible, some businesses, both public and private, collaborate in one way or another to try and attract the greatest number of visitors to the city.
Thus, as well as the typical celebrations which take place every year, if you come to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Manchester in 2017, you will be able to see the exhibition: The Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors. This exhibition, which was designed for the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, is based upon The Terracotta Army. These terracotta sculptures, representing the armies of the Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang, were discovered in his tomb in 1974. In the Chinese artist Xia Nan's interpretation of these sculptures, he converted the warriors into traditional Chinese lanterns, which when lit up at night, create a colourful feeling of intimacy with the army. This visual performance created by the artist, dotes the warriors with a humanity never felt before and offers us a new perspective on these ancient fighters. It would have been impossible to bring this exhibition to Manchester without the collaboration and participation of a large number of both public and private figures whose aim is to encourage people in Britain to see a new side to oriental culture.
Chinese New Year celebrations are greatly associated with street events, and in Manchester, this tradition lives on. Throughout the designated areas, the local council and many individual citizens, decorate their houses and the streets with banners, lanterns and posters, all in red, the colour which is used to welcome in the New Year, and leave bad omens behind. This atmosphere, along with live music, firework displays and food stalls, where you can sample the famous Chinese dumplings eaten on the last day of the year, turn Manchester into "Little China", even if it is only for a while.
The undisputed highpoint of the celebrations is The Lion and Dragon Dance, which parades through the streets of Manchester. Measuring 53.34 metres, this is the longest dragon in Europe. The dragon's body is made out of bamboo and wicker, and bamboo sticks are used to hold it up and control it. It truly is one of the greatest spectacles of the Chinese New Year celebrations in Manchester. Spread out along its body, some 46 specialists handle the dragon, while another 5 people are in charge of the movements of its head, and a further expert controls the pearl. An incomparable and surprising show, which you cannot miss if you are celebrating the Chinese New Year in Manchester.
Lastly, and to show their commitment to the festival, the council has organized for dancers in traditional dress to open the Dragon and Lion procession. Dressed in their colourful and eye catching outfits they will perform characteristic movements from oriental dances. The dancers will be a true delight for all those who find themselves in the city at this time, with a show directed by the choreographer, Susie Lu. This will clearly be one of the biggest and best celebrations of the Chinese New Year (or "Spring Festival") in Europe.