EVERY dog has its day, as they say. For the Chinese it’s a whole 12 months – welcome to the Year of the Dog. Manchester’s Chinese New Year celebrations promise to be more spectacular than ever. Here’s our rundown on what to expect, with last year’s debut hit, the 50ft high Golden Dragon returning as a glittering rival to the 175ft traditional dragon that heads up the climactic Dragon Parade on the Sunday.
Perfect for selfies, the Golden Dragon will share St Ann’s Square (Fri 16-Sun 18, 11am-7pm) with a Chinese Food Market serving up festive dumplings, steamed buns, dim sum and more from some of the city’s finest names in Asian food and drink, including British Street Food Awards Winners Dim Sum Su (who feature in our Taste Top 10 Chinese).
Thousands of red lanterns will brighten the Square and the city’s shopping streets throughout the celebrations organised by BID, Manchester’s Business Improvement District, alongside the Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester and Manchester City Council.
Cultural venues across the city including HOME and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) will be celebrating the best in Chinese contemporary film and art with exclusive screenings and exhibitions, while families can try out traditional Chinese crafts with the Confucius Institute and CFCCA at Manchester Arndale and enjoy live music and lion dancers at locations across the city including, Manchester Art Gallery and Central Library.
In Manchester’s stores there are giveaways, VIP shopping events and exclusive promotions throughout the weekend and on Sunday 18 red envelopes will be handed out at Metrolink’s Exchange Square stop with lucky passengers in with a chance of winning shopping vouchers worth up to £250!
At House of Fraser on Deansgate, customers who spend over £100 will receive a free Chinese New Year tote bag, there’s a lucky red envelope giveaway, complimentary fortune cookies, a chance to win Manchester City tickets in partnership with Hainan Airlines and in honour of the Year of the Dog, the Radley dogs will be making a special appearance!
Selfridges Exchange Square has a number of activities instore from Thursday 15 to Sunday 18, including personalisation by fashion illustrator Dom & Ink, a Chinese calligrapher and a Chinese knot making station plus a number of branded activities on counter, while Harvey Nichols’ shopping event over Chinese New Year weekend features complimentary drinks, live DJ sets, food and drink tastings, beauty treats, masterclasses and fashion customisation.
For those feeling artistic, there’s a free Dog Origami Puppet-making workshop at Paperchase on St Mary’s Gate on Saturday 17 from 2pm-3pm and a free traditional Chinese art class with an artist from the University of Manchester from 12-4pm in the Community Room at Virgin Money on King Street.
And then it’s Sunday 18 and from 12pm the perennially popular Dragon Parade will snake a path from Manchester Town Hall to Chinatown where revellers can enjoy lion dancing (above), martial arts displays, a funfair, over 60 food and arts & craft stalls and a spectacular fireworks finale at 6pm. The rest of the city centre is equally colourful with the lanterns and landmark buildings House of Fraser, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges bathed in red.
Amid all this most of out Chinese restaurants have celebratory menus with the benchmark Yang Sing at the forefront. Check out our Taste Top 10 Chinese and pick yourself a feast in or out of Chinatown.
Chinese New Year, Manchester city centre. Saturday and Sunday, February 17-18. For a full schedule, visit this link.