Chinese New Yea: Leeds and Castleford residents cheer in the Year of the Pig

260119    The traditional Lion Dance  on stage at Leeds Town Hall  part of the Leeds Chinese Community School  'Rhythm of Spring Chinese New Year' celebrations.
260119 The traditional Lion Dance on stage at Leeds Town Hall part of the Leeds Chinese Community School 'Rhythm of Spring Chinese New Year' celebrations.
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Residents in West Yorkshire will join East Asian people the world over to celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Pig today.

And Chinese New Year events are planned across the area during the holiday, which is traditionally marked by family visits, special meals, fireworks, and gift-giving.

Fiona Kit, a committee member at the Leeds Chinese Community School, said that pupils would be having “family time.”

With many families going to Chinese restaurants to celebrate, staff at these premises will be very busy today, she said. But traditional celebrations last for 15 days, and the concluding Lantern Festival will take place around the world on February 19.

In Castleford, the New Eastern Court restaurant is hosting a new year event on Friday to raise funds for two-year-old Imogen Holmes, who suffers from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which has left her unable to speak and with only limited use of her arms and legs.

The £35 ticketed event, where under-fives go free, will include a three-course banquet, entertainment from Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Craig Harper and a traditional lion dance.

Helen Lee, spokeswoman for the restaurant, said: “We are proud of our Chinese culture where eating in large groups celebrates health and happiness. We should all be happy to enjoy the wonderful evening ahead of us, sharing our happiness and making new friends.”

On January 26, the Rhythm of Spring concert took place at Leeds Town Hall which included an orchestra, choir and dancers from Guangzhou, China.

According to legend, the Jade Emperor wanted to segment time into cycles of 12 years with an earthly animal guarding each cycle, the South China Morning Post reports.

In China, pigs symbolise wealth and are associated with good fortune. And according to Chinese astrology, pigs are realistic, pragmatic and decisive.

Pigs also like to enjoy life, the news outlet reports. They “love entertainment and are generous to their friends and take good care of them”.

Celebrities born in the year of the pig include the Dalai Lama, Alfred Hitchcock and Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.