Communities and venues across County Durham are preparing to ring in the Year of the Tiger with a host of traditional events and activities.
Durham City will be celebrating the Lunar New Year on Saturday, 5 February with activities, performances and entertainment from a variety of different groups, organised by Durham County Council.
A spectacular lion dance procession will wind its way from Millennium Place through the city centre at 12.30pm, entertaining shoppers with a colourful display and a special appearance from the junior lion dance team from Langley Moor School.
At Durham Town Hall, visitors can enjoy a full day of activities including traditional music, costume and dance performances by Durham Chinese School, Durham University students and local schoolchildren.
There will also be a demonstration of Tai Chi, opportunities to take part in East Asian crafts and a catwalk show of traditional Chinese costumes.
For those with a taste for something different, students from New College Durham will be cooking up a number of oriental dishes in the town hall for visitors to try, and there will be a tea tasting ceremony to experience in the afternoon.
Clayport Library will also be sharing in the New Year celebrations, with the opportunity to learn Mandarin with students from Durham University. Drop in to one of these sessions to pick up some useful words and phrases.
Meanwhile, storyteller Chris Bostock will be sharing his Tiger Tales, enthralling the library’s younger audiences with exciting stories of distant lands. The story sessions are suitable for children aged four to 10 and are free to attend.
And primary schools across the county have been coached by volunteers from Durham University’s international students to create a special public performance of traditional Chinese Fan dancing.
The volunteers have been working with pupils at Esh Winning School, Finchale Primary School, Cleves Cross Primary School, Shincliffe Primary School and Blue Coat C of E (Aided) Junior School.
Together they created fans to use in the performance, and the children were taught some basic fan dancing steps to perform for parents, teachers and the general public on stage.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “As with every year, we will be celebrating the Lunar New Year with a real host of traditional activities for all to take part in or be entertained by. It’s truly an exciting day in Durham City, with lots to take in and opportunities to learn about Asian culture.
“We are proud of our cultural heritage, including that of our Chinese and Asian communities. There is a such a vast depth of culture within our county that everyone can be involved in, and we are trying to showcase this through the county’s bid for UK City of Culture 2025.”
Professor Claire O’Malley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global) at Durham University, said:
“We’re delighted to work closely with local partners to celebrate Year of the Tiger. We have staff and students from over 130 countries at the University, and we value the opportunities this brings to experience different cultures and perspectives and create a diverse and vibrant community.”