Join Chinese New Year celebrations

Ken chan, Eileen Chan hu, Chinese Welfare Association NI, and Christy McMonagle pictured at Derry's Craft Village to launch the Lantern festival which will take place at the Craft village to mark the last day of the Chinese New Year on Sunday 24th February. (1902SL08)
Ken chan, Eileen Chan hu, Chinese Welfare Association NI, and Christy McMonagle pictured at Derry's Craft Village to launch the Lantern festival which will take place at the Craft village to mark the last day of the Chinese New Year on Sunday 24th February. (1902SL08)

Gong Hei Fat Choi! Happy Chinese New Year of the Snake!

2013 is a very special year as the local Chinese community will have left the Year of the Dragon and moved into the Year of the Snake with all the planning that entails.

UK City of Culture 2013 are delighted at the biggest Chinese New Year outdoors experience in the city planned by the organisers, Chinese Welfare Association NI in partnership with Sai Pak Chinese Association.

So far there have been many events but this is the main Chinese one on the UK City of Culture’s calendar.

There will be a big celebration never before seen here of the Lantern Festival on the last day of Chinese New Year on Sunday, February 24 at the Craft Village in the city centre.

Eileen Chan-Hu, Chief Executive of Chinese Welfare Association says: “It will be a wonderful experience and I am delighted and proud our Chinese events are part of the UK City of Culture’s calendar.

“Chinese Welfare Association NI have organised fantastic acts of Chinese performances as seen last Sunday at the Ulster Hall for here. There will be Chinese ribbon dance, juggling, magic, music from Harmony Ensemble, a Scottish and Chinese group that have played at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival supported by the Chinese Consulate of Edinburgh and NI to a fantastic Dragon secured by CWA from the China Overseas Committee.

“We will look forward to a great line-up of performances from the lion dances of Success Lion dance to our local Irish dancers. There will also be Chinese food, arts and crafts and it will be a great Chinese New Year celebrating the last day of New Year as the Lantern Festival. Please come down and make a lantern and make a wish for a prosperous and successful year ahead in the Year of the Snake!”

Culture Company 2013 Cultural Programmer Gareth Stewart said: “The Lantern Festival is a colourful and exciting way to bring down the curtain on the Chinese New Year celebrations and it’s great to see it happening as part of the City of Culture year. It’ll be a great afternoon out for the family; a really colourful spectacle right in the heart of the city in the Craft Market. Come along, enjoy the spectacle and have a great time.”

Mayor, Councillor Kevin Campbell said: “The Chinese New Year provides a wonderful annual spectacle, offering us the chance to engage and celebrate with our local Chinese community and recognize the huge contribution that they make to our city.  The Lantern Festival looks like a must for all the family so I would encourage as many people as possible to come along and experience this event.”

Commissioner Stella Burnside of the Equality Commission said: “The Commission is pleased to support this event to stress that everyone living in Northern Ireland has equal protection under the law against discrimination.

“We provide free and confidential advice and support to people who believe they have suffered under discrimination. We also promote good relations amongst people of different racial backgrounds and work with employers, service providers and business owners to help them comply with the law and avoid discrimination. This event is a great opportunity to learn about Chinese culture. Happy New Year to everyone attending!”

Sue Divin, one of three Community Relations Officers with Derry City Council, stated: “It’s great to see such an extensive cultural programme around Chinese New Year in our city.

“The Chinese Community has been living here since the 1960s and contributes extensively to society not just culturally, but also economically. 

“We are delighted to have been able to support the programming of the events organised by the Chinese Welfare Association and Sai Pak in Derry~Londonderry and impressed by the enthusiastic uptake from local schools of the 30 workshops we organised around the ‘Year of the Snake’ and Chinese Culture theme. 

“I would encourage the whole community to turn out to experience a vibrant culture which is very much part of our city, but maybe less well known to the wider community,” the Community Relations Officer said.