The people of Manchester were unperturbed by the ghastly weekend weather and made it out in their thousands to observe and take part in the Chinese New Year Celebrations, welcoming in the Year of the Ram.
The dragon parade set off from Albert Square in a cloud of firecracker smoke then headed towards China Town where the dragons were greeted by more firecrackers and special New Year addresses from Community leaders.
I’ve never seen a dragon parade before but, huddled in a bus shelter to keep just a little bit dry, I admired the stunning spectacle that was the dragons weaving and dancing down the street. I particularly loved the bright colours and the lashings of red and gold, symbolising good fortune and joy.
Chinese dragons are a familiar symbol of China. The dragon is believed to bring good luck and the longer the dragon, the more luck it will bring to the community.
The movements that make up a dragon dance symbolise the historical roles of dragons demonstrating power and dignity.
So, what does it mean to be born in the year of the ram (or sheep, or goat)?
Well, the Chinese say that rams are polite, tender, clever and kind-hearted. They are wise and gentle with a special sensitivity to arts and music. On the other hand they can be indecisive, pessimistic and weak-willed, which is unlikely to make them good at business!
So, have a very Happy New Year. Or,
Gong Hey Fat Choy!
Photos by Mark Johnson