SUNDERLAND CELEBRATES CHINESE NEW YEAR

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Lanterns, lions, dragons and dancing are just some of the treats in store as Sunderland celebrates Chinese New Year.

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2020 is the Year of the Rat and, on Sunday 2 February, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens will host a special event to mark the occasion.

A traditional dragon dance will launch the celebrations at midday and herald an afternoon of displays, activities and crafts, ending at around 4pm.

Performances will include traditional lion dancing and martial arts demonstrations and visitors will also have the chance to try their hand at Chinese brush painting.

Other activities for all ages include zodiac badge making, constructing lucky red lanterns and a chopstick challenge.

The event has been jointly organised and supported by Sunderland Culture, Sunderland BID, Sunderland City Council, University of Sunderland, Gentoo and Asiana Fusion Restaurant.

“I am delighted to be bringing this free event back to the city,” said Ian Wong, owner of Asiana.

“It will be a lovely way to celebrate the beginning of a new cycle of the Chinese zodiac.”

Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID, hopes Sunderland residents will take the opportunity to attend the free event.

“Chinese New Year is a wonderful opportunity for people to learn more about another culture,” she said, “and this event promises to be great fun for the whole family.”

Rebecca Ball, creative director, Sunderland Culture, said: "Sunderland's Chinese New Year event is always a fun, vibrant and hugely popular occasion.

“It's wonderful to see so many people come together in celebration and we look forward to welcoming everyone to Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens for the spectacle."

Although Chinese New Year itself falls on 25 January, across Asia it is celebrated up to two weeks after that date.

To complement the free celebrations on 2 February, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is also holding a Zodiac Animal Trail from now until Sunday 23 February.

It costs £2.50 per child and trails are available to buy from the Museum shop. For further details visit  https://sunderlandculture.org.uk/events/chinese-zodiac-animal-trail/.

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