Leeds celebrates the Chinese New Year in style

Leeds Chinese Community Association's lion dance at the Victoria Quarter in Leeds. Pictures: James Hardisty.

Leeds Chinese Community Association's lion dance at the Victoria Quarter in Leeds. Pictures: James Hardisty.

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CHINESE NEW Year celebrations are kicking off in style, with a colourful procession held at a city centre arcade to mark the arrival of the Year of the Monkey.

Shoppers in Leeds got the chance to enjoy a traditional Chinese dragon dance as performers took part in a parade through the Victoria Quarter today.

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The impressive spectacle was accompanied by drums, which are believed to chase away bad spirits and create a fresh start for the new year.

Carl Pease is a volunteer at the Leeds Chinese Community Association (LCCA), which performed the dance.

He said: “It’s very loud and colourful and it certainly caught everyone’s attention!

“It’s about saying goodbye to last year and welcoming the new year with good luck and success for the year ahead.”

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The LCCA is also hosting a Chinese New Year Festival at Leeds Town Hall on Sunday, February 14.

Around 1,000 people are expected to attend the family-friendly event, which will include Chinese music, dance, theatrical performances, lion dancing, calligraphy, Kung Fu, Tai Chi, food, crafts and face painting.

Mr Pease said: “It’s going to be a huge event with lots of things happening on stage, from singing and dancing to people playing Chinese instruments.

“It’s for people from across Leeds and Yorkshire as well as the Chinese community.

“People can learn about the culture and the language and enjoy the celebrations.

“Leeds actually has a great past with China and has been twinned with a city called Hangzhou for over 20 years, helping with links to business and education.

“There is a lot of links developing between Leeds and China.”

The festival runs from 10.30am to 4pm, with workshops being held from 11am.

Tickets cost £5 or £3 for concessions.

Children under the age of five can also get involved with a Chinese New Year-themed arts and crafts event at the Abbey House Museum in Kirkstall from 10am to 11am on Tuesday, February 16.

For more ways to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Leeds, click here.

What is the ‘Year of the Monkey?

Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of the of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac.

The Year of the Monkey arrives on Monday, February 8.

People born in this year are characterised as being smart, enthusiastic, lively, curious and mischievous.

The 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac are on a 12-year cycle, meaning the next Year of the Monkey will be in 2028.

Famous faces born in the Year of the Monkey include Julius Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Dickens, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez.

Chinese New Year celebrations last for 15 days.

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