Belfast set to celebrate Chinese New Year

Belfast set to celebrate Chinese New Year

Belfast is getting ready to host a 15-day celebration to welcome the Chinese New Year, it has been announced.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has unveiled plans to mark the Year of the Horse which will start with a special family event on 2 February.

Taking place at City Hall from 12 noon - 5pm, the event will be hosted by the Chinese Welfare Association NI in partnership with the NI Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

More than 1,000 people of all ages and backgrounds are expected to join in the festivities, which will feature traditional Chinese and local performers including musicians, acrobats and dancers.

There will also be stalls, martial arts, lion dance displays and a children's Chinese dress competition.

The City Hall will play a central role in this year's celebrations too with the building lit up in red and yellow from midnight Thursday 30 January until dawn on Friday 31 January and from dusk until midnight on 31 January.

The interior of the building will also be decorated with traditional Chinese red lanterns and various exhibitions from today until 2 February.

Announcing details of the 15-day programme , the Lord Mayor said: "The Chinese community in Northern Ireland is one of our biggest and longest established minority communities.

"The strong work ethic and diversity of talent within the Chinese community has added to Belfast's creativity and has exposed the city to opportunities and markets in other parts of the world.

"Chinese Welfare Association NI has been instrumental in supporting the Chinese community for over 25 years and along with the NI Chinese Chamber of Commerce have engaged with the Chinese diaspora with the local communities to bring Chinese New Year to us all.

"I thank both organisations for inviting Belfast City Council to share in the celebrations."

Eileen Chan-Hu, Chief Executive of the Chinese Welfare Association, said: "I wish everyone all a very happy Year of the Horse, a year of success that will champion all your achievements with strength, power and courage as the horse."

© UTV

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