THE YEAR OF THE RAT – What to expect this Chinese New Year in MCR

If you have not stuck to your New Year’s resolutions for 2020, don’t fret – the Chinese New Year begins tomorrow, offering you a second chance at redemption.

This Saturday marks the beginning of the Year of the Rat, the first of the zodiac animals which symbolises wealth, intelligence, success and wisdom.

Celebrated by more than a billion people, it is the largest annual human migration in the world.

Usually festivities begin the day before New Year and continue until the 15th day, which is marked by the ancient Lantern Festival.

So, after drawing in 80,000 people into the city centre in 2019, what Chinese New Year celebrations are happening in Manchester in 2020?

Chinatown Celebrations – 24th Jan 2020 to 26th Jan 2020

Begin the celebrations of Chinese New Year in the perfect place while enjoying a host of live performances, workshops, food, stalls and a funfair.

This year boasts a brand-new 175ft illuminated Dragon which will light up Chinatown each evening for the iconic Dragon Dance.

Not to be outdone by an array of traditional lion dances, Chinese acrobatics, singing, poem reading and Kungfu.

On Sunday you can close the weekend in style by following the dragon from St Peter’s Square to Chinatown, accompanied by Chinese opera performers, giant Buddha dolls and the Chinese Scout Parade as it weaves its way through the city before a magnificent fireworks finale at 6pm.

Spinningfields Celebrations – 24th Jan 2020 – 27th Jan 2020

Spinningfields is ringing in Chinese New Year with a stylish take on the celebrations this year, with a good dose of positivity.

A bright neon sign will present a goodwill message, and The Avenue is decorated with hundreds of traditional red Chinese lanterns to wish luck to those who walk through.

Those who head to Hardman Square today can receive a fortune cookie and have your name painted in Chinese, a delicious and endearing token to take with you into the New Year.

Keep your eye out for eating options too, including 20 Stores who are offering two courses and a mini Moët for £28.50 or three courses for £33.50. Cheers to that!

Family Craft Workshops with Manchester Confucius Institute – 25th Jan 2020 (11:00 – 16:00)

Celebrate the Year of the Rat and unleash your creative side at this family fun workshop in Manchester Arndale.

A unique opportunity hosted by Manchester’s Confucius Institute, teachers from China will spend the day educating children and their parents on the Chinese zodiac and traditions.

Learn the art of Chinese paper folding to make your own rat, create your own zodiac wheel or fashion tattoos to embrace your artistic attributes and welcome the New Year!

Giant Golden Dragon – (25th Jan 2020 – 26 Jan 2020)

Calling all Insta-grammers and inflatable animal enthusiasts…

Head to St Ann’s Square to catch a glimpse of the 50ft giant Golden Dragon which is marking its territory this weekend.

An eye-catching addition to the extravagant celebrations, you can share your pictures using #chinesenewyearMCR

Manchester Art Gallery – 26th Jan 2020 (11:00 – 16:30)

Putting on a unique production for Chinese New Year is a range of Manchester based artists and Chinese performers at Manchester Art Gallery.

For a Sunday Funday you will wish you could attend more often, the action-packed day allows you to participate as well as appreciate the art.

You can make shadow puppets, decorate cookies or sketch your own interpretation of the entertainment.

Join the Thai Chi class to connect your mind and body or listen to traditional Chinese Guzheng and Flute music to immerse yourself in Chinese culture.

Photo credit to Flickr account Pedrik, thanks!

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