Chinese Year of the Rooster flies in to Sunderland
The Year of the Rooster has flown into Sunderland.
The city Museum and Winter Gardens hosted celebrations to mark the start of Chinese New Year with lion and unicorn dances, martial arts, craft displays and food.
The entertainment came courtesy of Newcastle’s Moi Fa Martial Arts and Sunderland Unicorn Dancing Association.
Crowds lined the main corridor as the unicorn and lion made their way from the Winter Gardens to the museum main entrance.
There were also craft sessions including Chinese lantern making, zodiac animal badge making, chopstick challenges and a Chinese craft stall.
Paul Tennet, from Moi Fa, said the lion dance was a Chinese tradition which was believed to bring good fortune.
“The dance is used to bring luck to any venture, whether it be a new business opening,a wedding, or New Year,” he said.
“Chinese people give money to the lion and the more money they give, the more luck they will get.”
New Year was the main event in the Chinese calendar, he explained: “It lasts for several days and the whole family gets together.
“And New Year is not just important in China - I am working with some Koreans at the moment and they have got four days off to celebrate.”
Museum manager Jo Cunningham said the venue had been hosting Chinese New Year celebrations on and off for around 20 years, but the event had been a fixture of the calendar for the last decade.
“People know about it now and they come back every year,” she said.
“We have got the dancers, we’ve got crafts and we’ve had a lot of support for Chinese students at the university, who want to come and speak to people about China.
“It is all about getting the community to come together - it’s lovely.”
Ruth Henderson and partner Norman Grotz had brought five-year-old Harris and Esther, two, from their home in Strawberry Bank to watch the dances.
“It’s great - we have been before a few times and Harris really enjoys it,” said Norman.
Chinese New Year officially starts on Tuesday and there will be more celebrations at the Museum and Winter Gardens and Mowbray Park next Sunday, February 5.