On 6th February, 2022, the sixth day of the Chinese New Year, despite the cold spring weather, Manchester China Town was crowded and lively. The Spring Festival Celebration of the Year of the Tiger, jointly organised by the Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester (FCAM) and Manchester City Council, commenced. This is the largest festival in Manchester since the epidemic control measures were lifted, and the Chinese New Year celebrations have been restarted for the first time since the epidemic. The High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, 8 mayors and mayoresses and Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester were invited to attend. The celebration attracted nearly 50,000 local people to participate in. The scene was crowded and grand.
‘At the beginning of this New Year, the Chinese community is as strong as ever and continues to make a valuable contribution to the civic, cultural and economic life of Manchester. Since 1992, FCAM has been organising Manchester’s Chinese New Year celebrations and it was very sad that last year for the first time we were unable to hold our event. We are back this year and, although on a smaller scale than in previous years, I sincerely hope that this signal is a return to normality after the troubles of the last few years.’, said Lisa Yam, President of the Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester.
Mr Zheng Xiyuan, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Manchester, sent New Year’s greetings. He said, “In the exciting year of 2021, FCAM united all overseas Chinese organisations, firmly supported the peaceful reunification of the motherland, promoted friendly cooperation between China and the UK, and led overseas Chinese to help each other. FCAM has achieved remarkable results win universal praise.”
In her speech, Mrs Diane Hawkins, High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, said that Manchester has the largest Chinese population and the second largest Chinatown in the UK. As one of the largest events in Europe, Manchester City Spring Festival Celebrations not only promotes the friendship between local Chinese and overseas Chinese, but also establishes a good Chinese image. The Chinese community in Manchester has made outstanding contributions to the Greater Manchester region. She is very honoured to have so many Chinese living and working in Manchester and wished the overseas Chinese and local people a happy Chinese New Year.
Councillor Tommy Judge, the Lord Mayor of the City of Manchester, gave his speech. The Year of the Tiger is a year of courage, self-confidence, and strength, with these three spirits the city has successfully faced challenges and overcome difficulties over the past few years. The City of Manchester is very proud of the Chinese Community, which makes a considerable economic, social, educational, and cultural contribution to life in our great City. On behalf of the City of Manchester, he wishes we all good luck and fortune in the New Year!
The activity continued until the night. When the night was approaching, a magnificent dazzling luminous dragon leaped and jumped in the night sky under the radiance of the red lanterns. The dragon sometimes roams the clouds, sometimes enters the sea and breaks the waves, and it comes alive. This is the only illuminated dragon show in Europe. At the beginning of spring, Yang and Qi Zhe, the Spring Festival, is the beginning of the year. The descendants of China believe that from then on, everything will recover and the days will get warmer and warmer. As a traditional Spring Festival event, the dragon dance represents the Chinese people’s good wishes for the coming year. With the sound of gongs and drums, the celebration came to an end.
The performance by the local Chinese attracted bursts of cheers, thunderous applause, and endless cheers. This event not only includes traditional lion dance, kung fu, Tai Chi, folk dance, and other performances, but also the audience’s favorite Chinese pop song chorus, stage performances and so on. In addition to a variety of Chinese art forms, there were also traditional Chinese snacks and Chinese culture workshops in Chinatown, which attracted more local people and spread Chinese culture attentively. Except for arriving at the scene to experience the atmosphere of the celebration in person, the celebration was also specially broadcast live on the Internet platform. On 6 February, nearly 10,000 netizens from home and abroad shared the lively Spring Festival celebrations in Manchester.
The Spring Festival Celebration of the Year of the Tiger in Manchester was held successfully. It shows the homesickness of overseas compatriots, and also implies the eradication of chronic diseases, full of blessings for the Year of the Tiger. (Edit: Jingyi Zhang, Xiuxiu Jin, Peiqi Wang, Photo: The Vain, Siyu Ma, Tongzhou Zhu)