CHINESE NEW Year celebrations got underway in style today as Leeds hosted a special procession to mark the occasion.
A Chinese dragon welcomed in the new year at various spots across the city centre, with a performance on Vicar Lane as well as local restaurants and supermarkets.
The traditional dragon dance uses drums to chase away bad spirits and create a fresh start for the new year.
The event in Leeds was organised by the Leeds Wah Kwong Chinese Association – one of the first Chinese organisations in Leeds.
Alex Kong, secretary at the charity, said: “It is a special time for the Chinese community.
“New Year’s Eve is a time to be with our families, eat together, clean the house together and celebrate the new year.
“This year is the year of the sheep, which is a symbol of kindness and calm.”
The animal is also believed to signify peace, purity and calm for the year ahead.
The festivities will continue this weekend as up to 3,000 people are expected to take part in a huge event at Leeds Town Hall.
The Leeds Chinese Community Association (LCCA) will host its annual Chinese New Year Festival at the venue on Sunday, February 22.
The event will include dances, speeches, workshops, performances, Chinese music, calligraphy, Tai Chi and taekwondo.
Visitors can also tuck into traditional Chinese food and buy arts and crafts.
Wensy Lee, PR and media manager at LCCA, said: “This event is open to everyone.
“We want to bring Chinese culture and different communities and backgrounds together.”
The event at Leeds Town Hall runs from 11am to 4pm.
Tickets cost £3.50 and can be bought in advance or on the door. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.lcca-uk.org.