AN array of treats were on offer yesterday at a festival event to mark the start of the Chinese New Year.
The Year of the Monkey was celebrated with a day of activities at Leeds Town Hall, which this year was expanded to include stands selling delicious Chinese food, as well as crafts, beauty and face painting.
Organised by the Leeds Chinese Community Association, visitors to the family-friendly event enjoyed performances of dancing and music, Kung Fu and Tai Chi and demonstrations of Chinese calligraphy.
The traditional Chinese lion dance took place outside the Town Hall, which followed a colourful procession in the city centre the previous weekend.
Carl Pease, a volunteer at the Leeds Chinese Community Association (LCCA), had previously said that the event was aimed not only at people from Leeds but throughout Yorkshire.
The aim was to share in Chinese culture.
Mr Pease said: “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 are a lot of links developing between Leeds and China.”
The Year of the Monkey arrived on February 8 but Chinese New Year celebrations last for 15 days.
A dragon dance marks the arrival of the new year, accompanied by drums which are believed to chase away bad spirits and create a fresh start for the new year.
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.
The beginning of the Year of the Monkey was also welcomed in London, where a parade took place along Charing Cross Road and crowds gathered in front of the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square to watch a Lion Dance.