Sunderland Chinese New Year celebrations welcome the Year of the Horse

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CHINESE New Year came to Sunderland in style.

Hundreds of spectators turned up to see a stunning lion dance through the city’s Museum and Winter Gardens to mark the beginning of the Year of the Horse.

Chinese New Year celebrations took place at the Museum and Winter Gardens on Saturday with the dragon making its way from Burdon Road to perform a traditional dance in front of a crowd on onlookers in the Jack Crawford room.

Chinese New Year celebrations took place at the Museum and Winter Gardens on Saturday with the dragon making its way from Burdon Road to perform a traditional dance in front of a crowd on onlookers in the Jack Crawford room.

The dance formed the centrepiece of a family fun day which included Chinese painting, martial arts demonstrations and stalls selling crafts.

Manager Jo Cunningham said the museum had been holding events to mark Chinese New Year for the last 10 years, and each one was more successful than the last.

She said: “It’s brilliant. We’ve had a very good turn-out, but then it always is for this event.

“It is a brilliant day and it has become bigger and bigger each year.”

Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, Councillor John Kelly, said: “This is an annual event run by Sunderland Museums and is a great opportunity for everyone to join the local Chinese community as they come together in celebration of this colourful festival.”

Artist Jayamini de Silva, who held a Chinese painting workshop using traditional inks, brushes and rice paper, said: “Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one.

“He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality.

“Those born in horse years are cheerful, skilful with money, perceptive, talented and good with their hands.”

Durham also marked the arrival of the Year of the Horse with a lion dance in the city’s market square.