Lions and dragons parade through streets of Lancaster

Lancaster’s streets were filled with the sound of drumming, dancing and celebration at the weekend.

Crowds turned out to celebrate Lancaster’s annual Chinese New Year celebrations on Sunday January 31.

Lancaster Chinese New Year celebrations 2016. Pictures by Gemma Sherlock

Lancaster Chinese New Year celebrations 2016. Pictures by Gemma Sherlock

This year marks the crossover of the year of the Sheep to the year of the Monkey.

Festivities included live performances and parades in the city centre.

The Lycamobile Stage in Market Square welcomed performances from Pagoda Arts, Wanlin Dance School, More Music Long Walk Chinese Ensemble and Northern Dragons.

Visitors and families also got to see the return of Lancaster’s own Batala Samba team.

Lancaster Chinese New Year 2016. Pictures by Gemma Sherlock

Lancaster Chinese New Year 2016. Pictures by Gemma Sherlock

Streets were packed when the parade began on Penny Street and worked its way down to Market Square.

Mythical creatures in the parade joined the lantern art made by artist Pui Lee.

Sam Moi Chan MBE, chairperson for the Hua Xian Chinese Society, said: “Thanks to the help of the community and our partners, we had a festival that welcomed people from all walks of life to enjoy the arts and culture together.”

Liz Hickingbotham, manager of Lancaster’s Business Improvement District, said: “You’ll see from the crowds not all of them are from the city centre and that is the whole reason why we do this, to encourage people who don’t normally come on to our streets to come down and see what we have got.

“The Chinese community is a big part of Lancaster, people may not realise just how large the Chinese community is here and we want to showcase that.”

Hua Xian Chinese Society, founded in early 2005, aims to bring people from all walks of life together and promote Chinese culture and art.

In the past ten years the group has organised various activities in Lancaster and through their services have devoted to maintain friendships between communities.