Celebrations to bring in the Chinese New Year of the Horse are planned in Chester city centre on Saturday (February 1).

This year’s event will be as bright and colourful as ever with traditional music, lion and dragon dancing and cultural characters such as the God of Prosperity, The Jade Emperor and The Happy Buddha taking to the city streets.

Cheshire West and Chester Council sponsors the Wah Lei Chinese Association to celebrate the event, which is also supported by Cheshire, Halton and Warrington Race Equality Centre, the University of Chester, Chester Voluntary Action, the Slowboat Chinese Restaurant and Wah Lei volunteers.

Pupils and members of Wah Lei Chinese Association Mandarin Language School preparing for Chinese New Year
Pupils and members of Wah Lei Chinese Association Mandarin Language School preparing for Chinese New Year
 

Councillor Stuart Parker, executive member for culture and economy said: “The colourful Chinese New Year celebrations are always a firm favourite with residents, shoppers and visitors to Chester.

“This is the fifth time that they have been held in the city centre and afterwards workshops take place in Frodsham Street.

“I would urge everyone to come and see the Year of the Horse brought in, in fantastic style with music and costumes and something for everyone to enjoy.”

Mia Tan, chairman of Wah Lei Chinese Association said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council to produce another colourful festival event for Chester and Cheshire to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Horse.

“We hope residents with their families and visitors will come join our many community volunteers that have worked hard to provide the cultural performances and martial arts, including dancing from our Saturday Mandarin school children."

The Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese zodiac calendar and follows a 12 year cycle. People born in the year of the horse are often said to be energetic, charming, quick-witted, and kind.

Chinese legend states that Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on New Year's Day and named a year after each of the twelve animals that came.

Timetable of  events

10.45am, Eastgate Street.  Music and an introduction to traditional  Chinese cultural characters.

Tai Chi performance

Folk music and dancing with children from  the Wah Lei Mandarin School and Chester Blue Coat CE Primary School.

Traditional dance through the city centre  with the lion and cultural musicians.

11.30am - Town Hall Square

A lion dance

12.30pm  Slowboat Chinese Restaurant, Frodsham Street.

Ccraft workshops, cultural performances  and lunch.  This is a ticketed event. Email  info@wahlei.org for details.