In addition to ringing in the Year of the Dragon, Liverpool is gearing up for its largest-ever Lunar New Year celebration, marking the 25-year anniversary of the city’s twinning with Shanghai.
Taking place from Friday 9 to Sunday 11 February, the FREE activities will expand beyond the Chinatown area to include the Bombed Out Church (St Luke’s), Liverpool ONE, and the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool. This expansion will introduce a vibrant and auditory festival to these locations.
To celebrate Europe’s oldest Chinese community, Culture Liverpool has commissioned brand new cultural pieces in addition to the customary Chinatown takeover, which includes traditional dragon, lion, and unicorn parades, firecracker displays, family workshops, Tai Chi demonstrations, live music, a fairground, and food and craft stalls. These will happen both on the day of celebration and in the lead-up to the main event on Sunday.
- From Friday 9 to Sunday 11 February, the traditional Chinese story of the Boy and the Pearl will come to life as it’s projected on the Bombed Out Church. Taking place from 6-9pm each night, the projections will transform the building with captivating animation and a newly composed soundscape. The show, which lasts for ten minutes, will run on a loop each evening. The work has been created by Focal Studios, in collaboration with Pagoda, the Bombed Out Church and local artists. To add to the atmosphere, around the church will be wooden dragon installations designed by local schools and community groups.
- Culture Liverpool has teamed up with outdoor art experts Walk The Plank and fiery thrill-seekers Bring The Fire to stage three nights of entertainment at Royal Albert Dock Liverpool. This will see a 25-metre, illuminated dragon floating through the dock system, an exciting fire street theatre featuring dance and martial arts. All activities will run from 5.30-9pm each night – more detailed timings will be announced on Culture Liverpool’s social media channels nearer the time.
- Bring The Fire will also showcase its stunning skills at Chinatown on the Sunday with a mesmerising, fire-finale at 4.30pm on the stage at Great George Square.
- Due to popular demand, even more free family friendly workshops will be available on Sunday 11 – from lantern making sessions, traditional arts and crafts including dragon shadow puppetry, candle making and storytelling – and lots more! Each session will see local artists sharing their skills to inspire creativity. The Mersey Forest team is also getting involved in the workshop action and will stage activities at the Bombed Out Church.
- The Philharmonic Hall’s Music Room will play host to Harmony of the Dragon: A Chinese New Year Gala – an enchanting musical performance including a rendition of ‘Great Race’, a delightful tune associated with the CBBC programme of the same name. This is a ticketed event and all the information can be found on the venue’s website.
Beginning in early February, thousands of lanterns will line the streets in the city centre around Chinatown and Liverpool ONE. In honour of the new year, several buildings will also be lit up in red, which is symbolic of happiness and good fortune for all. Sefton Park Palm House, the Mersey Gateway Bridge, Liverpool Town Hall, St George’s Hall, Steve Prescott Bridge, Liverpool ONE, the Martin Luther King Building at the Royal Liverpool Albert Dock and the Rotunda are a few of the locations.
There will be events on Sunday, February 11 from 11am to 5pm in and around Great George Square. The official website has all the details you need to know about what to expect.
Excitement will be building as the award-winning dance company Movema and the Liverpool Hung Gar Kung Fu Friendship Association lead a lion parade through the city centre on Saturday, February 3. Around noon, it will leave from Bold Street, make its way to Liverpool ONE, and end up at Liverpool’s Royal Albert Dock.
Sean Morrison, Estate Manager at Royal Albert Dock, said:
“We’re delighted to be a part of this year’s spectacular event celebrating the Lunar New Year. For the first time, we’re welcoming a floating dragon to the dock for what is guaranteed to offer three days of breath-taking performances.
“Let’s embrace the Year of the Dragon with joy, harmony and a celebration that reflects our diverse community and shared heritage.”
Donna Howitt, Place Strategy Director for Liverpool ONE said:
“We are delighted to be part of the city’s celebrations for the Lunar New Year as we embrace the traditions from our various communities in the city.
“At Liverpool ONE, our lantern decorations and activities have become an annual feature, allowing our visitors to join in the celebrations. We wish everyone a prosperous Year of the Dragon.”
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The Liverpool Chinese Business Association and the Culture Liverpool team of Liverpool City Council are collaborating to organise the event. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Canal and River Trust, Liverpool BID Company, Arts Council England, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, and Liverpool ONE are among those endorsing the event.
The Chinese New Year was the previous name for Lunar New Year. The name has been changed to better represent the communities that celebrate the New Year outside of China.
Photo Credit - Culture Liverpool