I celebrated Lunar New Year 2024 in Birmingham & was wowed by the colourful spectacle and warm welcome

I joined a journey through the colourful and lively Lunar New Year celebrations in Birmingham on Sunday (February 11), showcasing the festivities that marked the Year of the Dragon.
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I had the opportunity to join thousands of people in Birmingham to celebrate Lunar New Year 2024, also known as the Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival.

It was the Year of the Dragon, a symbol of strength and authority along with wisdom, beauty and auspiciousness.

I was amazed by the vibrant and diverse culture that the city has to offer. Birmingham has one of the largest Chinese communities in the UK, and every year, they organise a spectacular event at the Hippodrome square, the heart of the city’s Chinatown. Here are some of the highlights of my experience: 

The lion and dragon dances

One of the most exciting and colourful parts of the celebration was the lion and dragon dances. These are traditional performances that involve teams of dancers moving in sync to create the illusion of a giant animal. The lion dance is believed to bring good fortune and ward off evil spirits, while the dragon dance represents power and wisdom.

I watched in awe as the dancers manoeuvred the costumes with skill and grace, accompanied by the loud and rhythmic sounds of drums, cymbals, and gongs. The lion and dragon dances took place at various locations throughout the day, attracting large crowds of spectators.

The traditional Chinese dances and music

Another aspect of the celebration that I enjoyed was the traditional Chinese dances and music. These included classical fan dances, folk dances, and instrument performances. The dancers wore beautiful and elegant costumes, while the musicians played instruments such as the erhu, the pipa, and the guzheng. 

The dances and music showcased the rich and diverse history and culture of China, as well as the talent and creativity of the performers. I was especially impressed by the face changer performance, which involved a performer changing masks in a blink of an eye, creating a stunning visual effect.

The community and school performances

In addition to the professional performances, I also appreciated the community and school performances that took place on the main stage at Hippodrome Square in Southside. These featured local groups and students who shared their passion and enthusiasm for the Lunar New Year.

 I saw dance and music performances from different countries and regions, such as Korea, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. I also saw performances that blended different styles and genres, such as hip hop, and martial arts. The community and school performances demonstrated the diversity and harmony of Birmingham's multicultural society.

The food and craft stalls

No celebration is complete without food and crafts, and the Lunar New Year was no exception. I visited the food and craft stalls that lined the streets of Southside, offering a variety of delicious and authentic dishes and products.

I also browsed some of the crafts, such as lanterns, calligraphy, and paintings. The food and craft stalls added to the festive atmosphere and gave me a chance to taste and learn more about the Lunar New Year traditions.

The firecrackers and fireworks

The grand finale of the celebration was the firecrackers and fireworks display that took place at 5pm. The firecrackers are another way of scaring away evil spirits and welcoming the new year with a bang. The fireworks are a spectacular sight that light up the sky with bright colours and shapes. 

Unfortunately, I did not get to see them very well, as a building was covering the view and it was too crowded to move and witness the fireworks. I could only hear the loud noises and see some flashes of light. I wish I had a better spot to enjoy the show.

I had a wonderful time celebrating the Lunar New Year in Birmingham at Hippodrome square. I learned a lot about the culture and traditions, and I felt the warmth and hospitality of the people. I think Birmingham is a great place to experience the diversity and richness of the world, and I look forward to exploring more of it in the future.