Merseyside’s Police Commissioner has today wished the region’s Chinese community ‘Kung hei fat choi!’ as Liverpool gears up for its biggest Chinese New Year celebrations ever.
This year's festivities are set to be even more spectacular than ever as the city prepares to welcome in the Year of the Dog.
Thousands of Chinese lanterns are already adorning streets across the city, including Liverpool ONE and Exchange Flags, and a number of buildings will also turn red in homage to the Far East. After the success of the ‘Follow the Star’ campaign which took place at Christmas, Kazimier Productions will once again illuminate the Bold Street thoroughfare, this time with eight large lanterns accompanied by red lasers which will shine from the bell tower of St Luke’s Church.
This carpet of red coincided with the public opening of China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors at World Museum on 9 February, and the buildings will stay red and the lanterns remain in place until 28 February which marks the end of Chinese New Year.
The main Chinese New Year celebrations will take place from tonight (Friday 16) until Sunday 18 February. Each night, a beautiful lumiere display will take over Chinatown, lighting up the Chinese Arch, the Black-E and The Arch (formerly known as the Scandinavian Hotel).
On Friday and Saturday, entertainment will start from 7pm as Hung Gar Kung Fu wow crowds with an illuminated dragon and Lion dance. There will also be performances by Chinese and British students in traditional Chinese dress and inspired by the Warring State and Hip Hop – a partnership by Pagoda Arts, Everyman Playhouse and Liverpool Confucius Institute. Jinewei’s Legacy will then be shown from 7.30-8.30pm.
On Sunday 18, which will be the main focus of the Chinese New Year celebrations, the projection will take place just once at 6.30pm and will be followed by a short pyrotechnic finale.
Digital experts Illuminos have returned once again and have created the lumiere creations in partnership with Pagoda Arts and First Take. The soundtrack to the show is a specially commissioned piece from acclaimed musician, composer and poet Jah Wobble with Tien and Chi Chi.
The traditional Chinese New Year celebrations, which attract around 20,000 people, will see a series of popular street performances, family workshops, shadow puppet theatre, art installations, parades and of course the popular Chinese market on George Street selling gifts, souvenirs and mouth-watering Chinese food. This year’s event forms part of the China Dream season, in partnership with University of Liverpool, which is set to be one of the highlights of the Liverpool 2018 programme – celebrating ten years since the city held the title of European Capital of Culture.
Ahead of the weekend’s celebrations, the Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, said: “Chinese New Year marks one of the most important celebrations in the Chinese calendar and a great opportunity to recognise the significant contribution the Chinese community have played in Merseyside for more than 150 years.
“The New Year festivities are always one of the most joyous and spectacular events held in Liverpool when thousands of people descend on the city to enjoy the celebrations.
“I would like to wish the Chinese communities of Merseyside and everyone enjoying the occasion Kung Hei Fat Choi and a very happy and prosperous Year of the Dog.”
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “Our Chinese New Year celebrations are always hugely popular, but as this is a special anniversary year for the city, we wanted to do as much as we can to bring in the Year of the Dog.
“The beautiful Chinese lanterns lining our streets along with buildings lit up in red will signal the start of the New Year activities and will build up the excitement as we head towards the main weekend of activity.
“Last year’s illuminations transformed Chinatown, and the beautiful work created by Illuminos was breath-taking. I encourage as many people as possible to experience this year’s Jingwei instalment as it really is an unmissable piece of art work.
“It’s set to be a wonderful weekend an opportunity for people to come together to celebrate our Chinese community.”
Across the weekend, people can also take part in a specially created augmented reality trail which will take people on a tour through some amazing moments in Chinese cultural history in Liverpool and beyond. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Sunday’s family friendly activities, kick off from 11.30am, with the programme which is as follows:
Great George Square Stage 11:30am – 6pm
11:30am – 12:15pm Kwong Tam School of Tai Chi (in association with See Yep Association)
12:20 – 1pm Flower Drums, Fan Tai Chi, Dance and Happy Dance! (Pagoda Arts)
1:05 – 1:45pm Firecracker Display – Lucky Man, Dragon and Unicorn Parades
1:45 – 2pm Martial Arts Demonstration (Liverpool Hung Gar Kung Fu Friendship Association)
2:05 – 2:25pm Traditional Chinese Fan Dance & Cheongsam Costume Show (Wah Sing Community Centre Dancers)
2:35 – 2:45pm Chinese Red Lantern Dance (Friendship Dancers)
2:50 – 3:20pm 24 Festival Drums (Liverpool Guild of Students)
3:30 – 4pm Chinese Fusion Dance Workshop – have a go! (Movema Dance)
16:00 – 5pm A showcase of traditional and contemporary music, dance and song by Chinese students (Everyman and Playhouse and Liverpool Confucius Institute)
5 – 5:30pm Terracotta Warriors Love – A performance inspired by the fusion of Chinese Opera, Martial arts and contemporary dance. (Pagoda Arts, Everyman and Playhouse and Liverpool Confucius Institute).
5:30 – 6pm Chinese Fusion Dance (Movema Dance & 24 Festival Drums, Liverpool Guild of Students)
Chinese Arch/Nelson Street
6.30pm Chinese New Year lumiere – Jingwei’s Legacy
6.40pm Pyrotechnic display
6.45pm Event ends
The event is organised by Liverpool City Council and is supported by the University of Liverpool, Liverpool BID Company, Liverpool ONE, Stagecoach, Pagoda Arts, First Take, Arts Council England and the COoL Collective.
For more information about timings, activities, family workshops or the projections, visit www.chinadreamliverpool.com or follow @culturelpool on Twitter or Culture Liverpool on Facebook.