Chinese New Year celebrations return to Chester

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Chester will celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit on Saturday, January 21st with a parade of traditional music, lions and dragon dancing, non combustible firecrackers and cultural characters. The event last took place in January 2020 with virtual events in 2021 and 2022.

The God of Prosperity, The Emperor of Heaven and The Happy Buddha will take to the city streets on Saturday morning in an event delivered by the Wah Lei Chinese Association supported by Bank of America and the council. Preparations are already well under way with rehearsals involving travel from far and wide to Chester.

The event begins at 11am on Eastgate Street and will include a Tai Chi and weapons skills demonstration from the Ji Siu Tai Chi Chuan a group led by Maria Yuen and based in Handbridge. The Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy with Steve Ornelas will lead the colourful Lions and Dragon dance and parade through Bridge Street, Northgate Street, Town Hall Square and into Storyhouse in Hunter Street for 12pm. Tutors from Wah Lei Saturday Mandarin school based at the University of Chester and volunteers will deliver cultural workshops from 12.30pm to 2.30pm for the festival celebrations in The Storyhouse. 

Mia Tan, Chair and Founder of the Wah Lei Chinese Association said:

“Celebrating the Chinese Lunar New year festival will include volunteer members who have been rehearsing for several months to produce the Chinese Lunar New Year festival. This   festival celebrates the commitment and hard work of all volunteers who have helped the group since 2009 delivering Mandarin language classes at the university campus. Tutors continued to teach online and provide community support especially through the pandemic I’d like to thank all our volunteers who have made a difference in breaking down racial and cultural barriers in the community. We are delighted to work in partnership with Bank of America and the council again to produce this festival event.”

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Council and Cabinet Member for Communities & Wellbeing said:

“What a perfect way to start the year with Tai Chi demonstrations, the waking of the Lion, The Happy Buddha and the return of the Chinese Dragon, dancing through the city centre. This is a celebration not to be missed, starting in Bridge Street. I would like to wish everyone a very happy year of the Rabbit.”

Iwona Szmidt, Managing Director, Foreign Exchange & Commodities Operations and Derivatives Confirmation & Settlement and Chester Site Lead at Bank of America said:

“We are delighted to be a part of the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit celebrations and to once again support the Lunar New Year Parade in Chester in collaboration with our long-standing partner the Wah Lei Chinese Association. We, at Bank of America, wish everyone a happy Chinese New Year and greatly look forward to being part of the celebrations.”

The Chinese New Year is the most important celebration in the Chinese zodiac calendar and follows a 12-year cycle. Chinese legend states that The Emperor of Heaven asked all the animals to meet him on New Year’s Day and named a year after each of the twelve animals that came.

The Wah Lei Chinese Association is also supported by Cheshire, Halton and Warrington Race Equality Centre, the University of Chester and Chester Voluntary Action.

A celebration banquet is planned after the parade at the Panda Mami restaurant on Newgate Street at 1pm. onwards. Book now directly with Panda Mami to attend the banquet.

Please email Wahlei@btinternet.com for more details or visit Wah Lei Chinese Association Face book page.

The Wah Lei Chinese Association has been running Saturday classes providing Mandarin language tuition to children from across Cheshire and North Wales aged 5 to 16 years old since 2010. The school is self-funded by members’ donations, run by volunteers and supported by the University of Chester that provides some of the classrooms for the lessons. The Wah Lei is a member of the United Kingdom Advancement of Chinese Culture and Education and tutor training is supported by the Han Ban Institute. Wah Lei provides support and sign posting to services for members.

For more information visit: 

The Wah Lei Chinese Association Facebook page.

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