Breathing Fire and Lighting the Skies Liverpool's Chinese New Year celebrations 2014. Photograph by Ant Clausen / Culture Liverpool

Breathing Fire and Lighting the Skies

Little fella enjoys the Chinese New Year Spectacle
Little fella enjoys the Chinese New Year spectacle

Liverpool’s Chinatown will become awash with red, gold and green, 1000 colourful lanterns and dramatic parades of dragons, martial arts and traditional dancers. That can only mean one thing, Chinese New Year is upon us.

‘Year of the Monkey’ will be celebrated by more than one fifth of our planet’s population. Liverpool, home to the Europe’s oldest Chinese community, will be joining in the party.

Centred around Berry Street and Great George Street , Liverpool’s main Chinese New Year celebration will take place on Sunday the 7th February.

Thousands of people will line the streets to welcome the start of a new Chinese year and soak in Liverpool’s rich Chinese heritage. One of them is local mother of two, Lisa Haddon, 34, who attends the celebration every year:

“It’s just a great free family event, with a really friendly atmosphere…”

“It’s just a great free family event, with a really friendly atmosphere. I look forward to it all year round. When I lived down south, they didn’t really do anything like this. I think it’s much better than the western New Year, it’s not about drinking, it’s more cultural.

“My heritage is part Chinese, and I love to show my children that side of our culture. This year we’re helping to make the lanterns, so the kids are really excited. They love to see the kung fu, the dragons and all the food. The little one’s a bit scared of the firecrackers, but she’ll get over it.”

Here’s a breakdown of what’s going on and when.

Liverpool's Chinese Lanterns
A thousand Chinese lanterns will decorate Liverpool’s Chinatown to mark the Year of the Monkey.

Festivities kick off from 11am in Great George Square, followed by:

11 – 11.30am -  Flower Drums and Fan Tai Chi by Pagoda Arts

11.35 – 12.15pm Kwong Tam School of Tai Chi (in association with See Yep Association)

12.20 – 12.35pm Wah Sing – Traditional Chinese Dance & Song

12.35 – 1pm Pagoda Arts – Dance, Tai Chi, Happy Dance!

1 – 2pm Firecracker Display – Lucky Man, Dragon, Lion and Unicorn Parade arrives

2 – 2.15pm Gung Har Kung Fu School – Martial Arts Demonstration

New Chinatown
Said to be a year of ‘unexpected fortune’ to many, Year of The Monkey will also herald the beginning of a £200m project to rejuvenate Liverpool Chinatown, brining 850 new homes, a hotel and a shopping hub. Read more about the plans and other Liverpool developments here.

2.20 – 2.30pm China Pearl – Chinese Round Fan Dance

2.35 – 3.15pm Kwong Tam School of Tai Chi (in association with See Yep Association)

3.20 – 3.30pm Movema Dance – San Jiao – The Chinese symbolism of trios blended with martial arts into contemporary dance

3.30 – 3.45pm Movema Dance – Chinese Dance Workshop – Suitable for all ages and levels.

3.454pm Movema Dance – Chinese Fusion community performance

On the day there will also be the chance to see musical performances from the Pagoda at their venue in Henry Street from 1.30p and FACT from 2.30pm.

Many other events are taking place to celebrate Chinese New Year throughout February in Liverpool. For full details visit Culture Liverpool.

The event is organised by Liverpool City Council in partnership with the Liverpool Chinese Business Association.