The midwinter gloom was blown away as Chester welcomed the Year of the Rat with a parade of parade of traditional Chinese lion and dragon dancing. The God of Prosperity, The Emperor of Heaven and The Happy Buddha took to the city streets on Saturday morning in an event delivered by the Wah Lei Chinese Association supported by the council, the Bank of America and the Slowboat Restaurant.
Beginning on Bridge street with a Tai Chi performance from the Ji Siu Tai Chi Chuan group based in Handbridge, the busy crowds the witnessed Lion dancers before the parade set off down Northgate street towards the Town Hall led by a colourful yellow dragon.
After a performance in Town Hall square the parade entered Storyhouse , for more cultural dancing, singing, poetry recital, martial arts practices and a special performance with Tai Chi Panda. Mia Tan , chair and founder of the Wah Lei organisation spoke at the event , thanking the sponsors and the team of 100 volunteers who took part, saying that Chinese New Year was a celebration of diversity, regeneration and renewal. This year for ecological reasons, the traditional firecrackers were replaced by audio effects and drumming within Storyhouse.
Happy New Year!