February 5th marks the Chinese Lunar New Year 2019 and this year we are saying goodbye to the Year of the Dog and welcoming the Year of the Pig. The pig is believed to be a symbol of optimism, enthusiasm and being hardworking. Food, fireworks and performances across Asia are marking the annual lunar new year. Closer to home, celebrations have taken place throughout Leeds over the last two weeks to mark the occasion.
In Leeds, the party started early, with a traditional music orchestra consisting of 70 talented young musicians from southern China taking part in a special concert in Leeds Town Hall, hosted by Leeds Chinese Community School on 26 January. The unique event drew enthusiastic Chinese culture lovers from across the UK. The show involved acts featuring authentic Chinese music performed using traditional instruments, song, dance and culture. Local artists were also performing to celebrate this special occasion. There were stalls serving authentic Chinese cuisine, along with street food from other communities, throughout the event.
Bei Gao, chair of Leeds Chinese community School, said “Undoubtedly this cultural exchange event will bring inspiration to Leeds and make the city a more vibrant and welcoming place, along with cementing the friendship between China and the UK.”
On 29th January business, academic and civic leaders from across the region came together at University House in Leeds for the Yorkshire and Humber Chinese New Year Dinner 2019. Organised by the Business Confucius Institute of the University of Leeds, the dinner included performances of Chinese Traditional Dance, Guzheng and Tai Chi.
The keynote speaker was Patrick Horgan, Director of Global Government Relations with Rolls Royce, who spoke about the way in which his early experiences of China have shaped his life and his career. The Business Confucius Institute also shared two videos they have made in conjunction with Visit Leeds and local retailers, hotels and restaurants about why Chinese is good for business. We will feature these videos in future guest blogs.
There was a wonderful atmosphere in Leeds Town Hall on Thursday 31 January as everyone gathered to celebrate Chinese New Year together, enjoying the familiar tradition of a Chinese New Year variety show to make them feel closer to home. The Chinese New Year Gala, organised by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association and supported by the Business Confucius Institute at the University of Leeds, gave the stage to both professional and amateur performers, creating a quality show with an inclusive and local feel. Performances included a lion dance, Chinese opera, Chinese traditional music, acrobatics, comedy sketches and singing and dancing medleys.
Happy New Year of the Pig to all our readers and followers!