A lion sees off the tiger and welcomes the rabbit

A dancing lion passes amongst diners at Asiana to celebrate Chinese New Year.
A dancing lion passes amongst diners at Asiana to celebrate Chinese New Year.
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THE Chinese New Year was welcomed in with a roar on Wearside.

Asiana restaurant, in Sunderland city centre, played host to a traditional lion dance as the Chinese community waves goodbye to the year of the tiger and sees in the year of the rabbit.

The ancient dance was performed by members of the UK CLF Kung Fu Dragon and Lion Dance Association.

Ian Wong, owner of Asiana, said: “We had a lion dance when the restaurant opened two years ago and it went down really well.

“We had 90 or so people coming down for the celebrations last night. We have a separate menu for the Chinese community because they are more adventurous than the Western palate, so we had some of those dishes out for people to try.”

New Year, also known as the spring festival, is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. It celebrates the start of new life and the season of ploughing and sowing.

New Year festivities start on the first day of the lunar month and continue until the 15th, when the moon is brightest.

As the Chinese use the lunar calendar for their festivals the date of Chinese New Year changes from year to year.

This year, the New Year started yesterday and is the year 4709 of the Chinese calendar.