[Update on 29th January 2014: There will be Lion Dance performances in Southampton this coming Sunday after all.]
Waterside Lion Dance sent me an email this evening to confirm that they will perform on the 2nd of February at 11.30am outside West Quay, for 25 minutes. Read the latest on News: Lion Dance This Sunday At 11.30am Outside West Quay.
Original post below:
There will be no Lion Dance, no Dragon dance, and no street parade in Southampton this Chinese New Year.
The Chinese New Year 2014 is on the 31st January (Friday). It is the Year of the Horse. In the past, Southampton celebrated the Chinese New Year in style, with lion dance, dragon dance, food stalls, singing and dancing performances, and a street parade.
But not this year.
The Chinese New Year (or the Lunar New Year) is a period of celebration over 15 days. It is also known as Spring Festival. The 15th-day celebration is marked by Lantern Festival. This year, the Lantern Festival falls on 14th of February, the western Valentine’s Day.
Andy Lai, a retired police officer for Hampshire Constabulary and Vice Chairman of the Chinese Association of Southampton (CAS), told me that due to a lack of resources this year, they are unable to hold a grand celebration in Southampton city centre.
It means that there will be no Lion Dance and parade organised through the Chinese Association of Southampton. (However, would other organisations, or Lion Dance groups be performing in town? It’s a possibility. But I’m not sure.)
In the past two years, the Chinese New Year celebrations in Southampton took place at West Quay shopping centre. I took these pictures in 2012.
Andy told me that the Chinese Association of Southampton is holding a celebration and fund-raising event at Kams Palace Restaurant for its members only. The tickets have all been sold out.
However, readers need not despair. Though there is no dragon, lion, drums, kung-fu, and firecrackers in Southampton city centre, exciting Chinese New Year celebrations will still take place in Portsmouth and London.
London Chinese New Year Celebrations
Sunday 2nd February 2014
Activities will take place in Chinatown, Leicester Square, Shaftesbury Avenue and Trafalgar Square.
According to London Travel on About.com, the parade starts around 10am with a parade along Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue. At midday, the main stage in Trafalgar Square has lots of free entertainment all afternoon with many visiting artists from China. Also, there will be the lion teams dancing through Chinatown and local artists performing on a stage at the end of Dean Street and traditional food and craft stalls.
“Be warned, this is a popular free event in the London calendar so there will be big crowds (around 500,000 in 2013).”
Portsmouth Guildhall Chinese New Year Celebration
Sunday 2nd February 2014
Portsmouth Guildhall, PO1 2AB
From 11am to 1pm: Chinese food and Art workshop (free entry)
From 1pm to 4pm: Chinese New Year Extravaganza
Ticket: Adult £8, Senior citizen and student £5, Under 12 free
More details from Portsmouth Chinese Association.
Guildhall box office: 023 9282 4355
In Southampton, according to the Christian charity Friends International Southampton, they will be a celebration at Portswood Church in Southampton.
Chinese New Year Activities at Portswood Church in Southampton
Saturday 1st February
Portswood Church (opposite Waitrose supermarket), 2 – 4.30pm
“We are having a special Chinese New Year event: this is for students and friends of all nationalities, including British! If you are Chinese, you can help explain things to your friends, or another nationality, you can learn more about Chinese culture. Families are very welcome.”
There will be lots of activities in separate stalls, including (to be confirmed)…
• Paper cutting, Chinese knot
• Lantern making
• Chinese food
• Chinese Music
• Chess, Go
• Chinese children games
• Lion dance, Shuttlecock
• and during the afternoon there will be a talk about Chinese characters and the Bible.
I hope the information above is helpful to those longing for a taste of Chinese during the Year of the Horse. Oh, perhaps someone should organise a Chinese celebration in Chandler’s Ford?
Would that person be you?
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