Sunderland to celebrate Chinese New Year in style

Last year's celebrations in Mowbray Park
Last year's celebrations in Mowbray Park

Sunderland will welcome the Chinese Year of the Dog with a special city centre celebration.

A full programme of New Year events, from lion dancing and martial arts demonstrations to calligraphy and traditional dancing, will bring the culture of the East to the North East.

Musicians perform for the crowd

Musicians perform for the crowd

The event, at The Bridges on Sunday, February 25, is being organised by Ian Wong, owner of Asiana restaurant, with support from Sunderland’s Business Improvement District and Gentoo.

The schedule will kick off at 12pm with a traditional dragon dance outside the Market Square entrance to the Bridges, followed by a packed programme running until 4pm.

Performances will include Chinese screen painting, Kung Fu demonstrations, traditional dancing, music played with traditional Chinese instruments and local pupils singing Chinese songs.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to try their hand at Chinese calligraphy throughout the day, with Chinese arts and crafts for children.

A dragon parades for spectators

A dragon parades for spectators

"Chinese New Year is a really important date on the calendar and I’m delighted that once again we can get the people of Sunderland to enjoy a whole range of cultural experiences," said Ian.

"I am really grateful for the BID’s support because without them, this couldn’t have gone ahead."

Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID, hopes Sunderland residents will take the opportunity to attend the free event.

"Ian has put together a really diverse range of entertainment which people of all ages can enjoy," she said.

"Chinese New Year is a wonderful opportunity for people to learn more about another culture and have a great day out at the same time."

Samantha Czwordon, marketing manager at the Bridges, said the shopping centre seized on the opportunity for shoppers to find out more about Chinese New Year.

"We like to enhance the experience shoppers have when they come to the Bridges, so the chance to host some fantastic entertainment and to share in Chinese New Year was something we are delighted to be part of.”

Although Chinese New Year itself falls on 16 February, across Asia it is also celebrated up to two weeks after that date.