In excess of 30,000 joined the Chinese Festival Committee Birmingham and Birmingham Hippodrome in welcoming in the Year of the Pig from 8 – 10 February with events across the city from Colmore Business District to Bullring & Grand Central to Southside.
Sponsored by Birmingham Airport and in association with Birmingham City Football Club the city celebrated Chinese New Year in style wishing everyone Kung Hey Fat Choi.
Friday 8 February saw the Chinese Lions brighten up the wet streets of Birmingham with performances inside and out in the Colmore Business District, supported by Colmore BID, bringing good luck, wealth and prosperity to the area. Birmingham Cathedral then opened its doors – offering warm cups of Chinese tea and fortune cookies – for a free lunchtime concert featuring traditional Chinese folksongs from students at Birmingham Conservatoire and a traditional Fan Dance from Dans Dance Company.
On Saturday crowds flocked to Bullring & Grand Central with even the Bull joining in with celebrations with his own Chinese dragon face mask. Shoppers and revellers enjoyed lion and dragon dances through the centre along with amazing performances from Shaolin Warriors UK, Hip-Hop dance from choreographer Si Rawlinson, a performance by students from BMet who have worked with choreographer Julia Cheng as part of Birmingham Hippodrome’s Curtain Raiser programme and a traditional face changing dance from Dans Dance Company.
The Chinese Quarter, Southside, the Arcadian and spaces inside and outside Birmingham Hippodrome were filled on Sunday 10 February further cementing the areas reputation as a festival hub which welcomes communities and artists from across the region. The days festivities were opened by James Wong, Cllr Ian Ward and Cllr Limin Zhang from the Chinese Embassy.
Revellers enjoyed the best Chinese food, acrobatics, circus, a fun fair, market stalls, dance from schools who are part of Hippodrome’s education network and of course the karaoke stage. Throughout the afternoon members of the public tried their hand at traditional Chinese craft from origami to adding wishes to the Chinese Wishing Tree as well as giving traditional Chinese Fan Dance a go. The festivities closed, in the traditional way, with one final lion dance and firecrackers.
James Wong, Chairman of Birmingham’s Chinese Festival Committee said: “What a fantastic weekend of festivities, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to all those who braved the elements to support Birmingham’s Chinese New Year and to all our sponsors and partners who have ensured the celebrations here in Birmingham go from strength to strength.
“We are very proud of our heritage and in bringing this unique and unforgettable spectacle to life across the city we are able to bring Chinese New Year to life for both the Chinese community and for the people of Birmingham more generally. I wish everyone a prosperous Year of the Pig.”
Graham Callister, Community Engagement & Festivals Director at Birmingham Hippodrome said: “Chinese New Year 2019 has been a huge success and Birmingham Hippodrome are delighted to continue to support the local community and work in partnership with the Chinese Festival Committee to produce the Festival.
“Chinese New Year is the first in our calendar of outdoor festivals and events celebrating the city and region and we look forward to welcome people back to Southside later in the year for B-Side Hip-Hop Festival and annual family weekend Summer in Southside.”
Chinese Festival Committee Birmingham present Birmingham’s Chinese New Year celebrations, co-produced by Birmingham Hippodrome. Sponsored by Birmingham Airport and in association with Birmingham City Football Club. Chinese New Year 2019 is also supported by The Timber Yard, The Arcadian and Southside BID. Friday’s programme is in partnership with Colmore Business District and Saturday’s programme in Partnership with Bullring and Grand Central.