Chinese New Year celebrations came to the centre of Durham on Saturday, 9th February. An annual event celebrating Chinese culture and arts in various forms, from traditional music & storytelling to even a giant dancing lion to welcome the Chinese the year of the Pig. The event which was made possible by Durham County Council with support from Durham University & CSSA, Durham Chinese School, Durham BID, Durham Markets was a massive success as hundreds of people turned out for a fantastic day of culture & entertainment despite the cold & damp February weather.
The main functions & activities were held in Durham’s town hall within the magnificent main hall itself. The room which dates back over 650 years was packed with people and stalls including the Durham Chinese school which offered visitors the chance to try and buy various Chinese foods & also view the work done by the schools’ pupils. A stage was set under the ancient stain glass windows at the foot of the hall where the audience were treated to a host of stunning vocal performances & dances of both traditional & modern genre. Other highlights of the stage events were the Tai-Chi Performances & also the fantastic Cheongsam fashion show showcased styles and traditional Chinese dress under the sptlights, that wowed all in attendance. Events took place throughout the day which also included a Chinese tea ceremony, calligraphy & Chinese horoscopes.
At mid-day people travelled to millennium square in front of the Gala theatre to enjoy the sight of traditional Chinese lion dancing. Mayor John Lethbridge was also joined by the Chinese Vice-Consul General, Mr Fan Yingjie, and Consul Mr Xuefeng Chen during the vibrant performance. A large crowd of onlookers saw the Mayor gather lettuce leaves thrown by the lion, traditionally symbolising good luck and prosperity for the coming new year. Later the mayor also took to the stage in the main hall with the Vice Consul General to speak of how the new year celebrations and Chinese culture had benefited the city of Durham as a growing & thriving multicultural city.
Other guests who attended the celebration event were Professor Stuart Corbridge, the Vice Chancellor of Durham University, Mr Brian Stobie, International Officer of Durham County Council, Mr Haoyang Liu, the headteacher of Durham Chinese School and others from the council and the university. Local businesses involved in supporting and sponsoring with the event was JP Linc accountants Ltd, Westmill food, Durham Foodisan Chinese Takeaway and other parents volunteers, who helped raising total £458.83 for the Durham Chinese School,including £194.85 from the sales in the town hall and £263.98 from the trade with the local Chinese convenience shop with the donation products from Westmill.