Culture, Entertainment, News

Locals Reflect on “Special” Chinese New Year in Manchester

0 75

Manchester kicked off the Chinese New Year celebrations with a taste of Chinese culture and food. Friday night’s dragon dance was the highlight of the three-day weekend event which ended on Sunday.

The celebrations in Chinatown attracted thousands of visitors from across the country and abroad. Decorations, lanterns and the smell of street food flooded the city, whilst various performances were lined up throughout the weekend, including an illuminated dragon dance in Chinatown, a parade in Manchester city centre and giant golden dragon in St Ann’s Square, alongside a cohort of art and culture workshops for families.

2020 will be the ‘year of the rat’ in the Chinese calendar, which is supposed to be an auspicious start to the 12-year cycle. The highlight of the celebrations was the dragon parade on Sunday, where a large, ornate dragon brought to life by puppeteers was taken around Chinatown, popping its head through the doors of local businesses to wish them luck.

(aAh! Magazine/Leonie Backhaus)

Tina Wu, 38, who works with the Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester (FCAM) was out with her team to usher the festivities along smoothly. She explained the importance of the dragon in Chinese culture to aAh! Magazine.

“We consider ourselves as the children of the dragon because our nation is centred like the dragon,” Wu said.

“That’s why the dragon is so important in our country, like a god or a King. The King in the Qing Dynasty was considered a dragon.”

Wu explained that FCAM has been running the New Year tradition for 27 years. Chinese people across Manchester support the event and organisation in order to carry on the celebrations that are important to their culture.

(aAh! Magazine/Leonie Backhaus)

She said, “Chinese people join together to support Chinese New Year and it’s very successful because it has become a habit for Manchester. Last year we had 200,000 people visiting our event. This year it depends on the weather but we expect more.”

Wu explained that the focus on their culture and traditions is so that people can have a taste of Chinese cuisine first hand.

Tiffany Li, who works at Red Chilli, was out in the centre of the entertainment with a special tent her restaurant provides for the New Year celebrations every year.

“Most of the stuff we have is different because we don’t serve it in the restaurant,” she said.

“This fruit we have called Tang Hu Lu (called ‘sweet whole fruit’ in English) is from China. Locally you can’t find it.”

Tang Hu Lu fruit (aAh! Magazine/Leonie Backhaus)

“We also have Chinese food which you can’t buy here like rice cake, tea cake and Bao which is popular in London but not here,” she added.

The importance of Tang Hu Lu is that it represents long life and prosperity. Li explained why: “The shape looks similar to a plant we grow in China which represents longevity of life. Outside [of the prepared fruit is sugar which is ‘Tang’ in Chinese. It looks like the shape of the plant in China when put together.”

One Chinese tradition involves eating a dumpling called Jiao Zi, which is important because of the pattern it makes when being prepared, just like many foods in Chinese cuisine which hold a deeper meaning.

(aAh! Magazine/ Leonie Backhaus)

The event also attracted a vast amount of people from Europe. Alex Tonca, 26, from Romania, was in Manchester for the first time. “We heard it was Chinese new year so we came to see what it’s all about,” he told aAh! Magazine.

It was Tonca’s first exposure to a Chinatown – he said they don’t have one, as far as he’s aware, in Romania. He added that the only exposure he has had to Chinese culture is on television.

(aAh! Magazine/ Leonie Backhaus)

“We heard it was Chinese New Year so we came to see what it was all about,” Tonca said.

“There’s more of an understanding with stuff like this as we tried something new with the food which was really interesting.”

Tonca added that he’s happy to go back home and tell his friends and family about what he has learned from Chinese culture.


Gallery by Leonie Backhaus and Akash Ali

About the author / 

Pruthvi Khilosia

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • £10K Manchester Writing Competition judges reveal what they’re looking for in winning entries

    The 2020 Manchester Writing Competition is now open for entries.The UK’s biggest literary award for unpublished work returns this year as the prestigious Manchester Writing Competition opens for entries. Each year writers compete for two £10,000 prizes offered by the Manchester Writing School, the most successful writing school in the UK. The Poetry Prize and Fiction Prize…

  • APRE: “I think when we write music there’s a real sense of freedom”

    Mixing retro inspirations with modern innovations, APRE is a band defying the conventions of time by creating a new benchmark for early success. Multi-instrumentalists and co-vocalists Charlie Brown and Jules Konieczny, both played in different bands before coming together. After meeting at Ealing Chess Club during their time at University, their new creative partnership was born. You…

  • Giant Rooks: “We couldn’t run away anymore”

    Featured Image: Max Burk German indie-rock band Giant Rooks are quickly making their name known in the music industry, one hit track at a time. Forming in 2015, after meeting in Hamm, the band have since moved to the cultural hub of Berlin, which is known for inspiring some of history’s most influential musicians –…

  • The Big Moon: “As a band we just want to make people feel better”

    Featured Image: Pooneh Ghaha The Big Moon have consistently rewritten the rules on what it means to be a modern indie band, since their formation in 2014. The London-based four-piece is led by lead singer and guitarist Juliette Jackson, bassist Celia Archer, drummer Fern Ford and guitarist Soph Nathan. Founded through a Facebook callout, their chemistry…