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Durham City Chinese New Year Celebrations

Published January 28, 2019 11.35am

Durham is preparing to celebrate the entry of the Year of the Pig in true Chinese style.

Chinese New Year

A dance performance from 2018's Chinese New Year celebrations


The Chinese New Year, which falls on Tuesday 5 February, will be celebrated with traditional music, dancing, storytelling, arts and more across Durham City on Saturday 9 February.

A free event

Entry is free to the event, which has been organised with support from Durham County Council, Durham BID, Durham University, Durham Chinese School and Durham Markets.

Traditional lion dancers will perform in Millennium Place at 12.30pm, when in a ritual said to bring good luck, Councillor John Lethbridge, the Mayor of Durham, will catch a lettuce from the lion. Further lion dance performances will then take place around the city centre throughout the afternoon.

A wide range of activities

Durham Town Hall will host a wide range of activities between 10.30am and 3.30pm, including:

  • Chinese-themed performances by pupils from Shincliffe, Langley Moor, Neville's Cross, Bearpark, St Margaret's and Framwellgate Moor schools, who have been supported by University students
  • Traditional Chinese music, songs, dancing, Tai-Chi, fashion show and Chinese-themed jazz dancing by members of the Durham University Chinese Students and Scholars Association (DUCSSA) and pupils and parents from the Durham Chinese School;
  • A Chinese tea ceremony, calligraphy, craft activities, chopstick activities, traditional handicrafts and seal and hairpin making and opportunities to buy New Year novelties;
  • Chinese horoscopes led by our International Office. 

Clayport Library will host Chinese language taster sessions and storytelling sessions between 11.00am and 2.00pm, led by staff and students from the University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures (MLAC).

To complement the city centre celebrations, Durham University's Oriental Museum will also host special activities. On Saturday 9 February, visitors can make Chinese lanterns and paper cuts to decorate the Museum. Then on Tuesday 19 February, the museum will be open until 8.00pm for a New Year Lantern Festival, with traditional crafts, refreshments and stories and a gallery hunt. 

Professor Claire O'Malley, the University's Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global), said: "As a global university, we're proud that more than a quarter of our students come from outside the UK and 150 nationalities are represented among our staff and students.

"We're looking forward to joining our Chinese staff and students in what promises to be a very memorable celebration which anyone, whatever their age or background, can enjoy."

Cllr John Lethbridge, Chairman of Durham County Council and Mayor of Durham City, said: "Following on from the success of previous years' events, Durham City's Chinese New Year celebrations have really expanded this year. It's set to be a fun-filled day for all the family, with lots of activities to try, opportunities to learn about Chinese traditions and arts, and most importantly a great, vibrant atmosphere."

The full programme for the day is as follows:

Clayport Library

  • 11.00am - Chinese language taster session (20 minutes)
  • 11.30am - Chinese language story telling session
  • 12 noon - Chinese language taster session (20 minutes)
  • 1.00pm - Chinese language taster session (20 minutes)
  • 1.30pm - Chinese language story telling session
  • 2.00pm - Chinese language taster session (20 minutes)

Durham Town Hall

  • 10.30am - School activity - Shincliffe Primary School
  • 10.45am - Chinese traditional group dance
  • 11.00am - Chinese traditional music
  • 11.15am - Vocal performance
  • 11.30am - School activity - Langley Moor Primary School
  • 11.45am - Ancient Chinese style song
  • 12 noon - Children's group dance
  • 12.15pm - Cheongsam fashion show
  • 12.30pm - Chinese traditional dance
  • 12.45pm - School activity - Neville's Cross Primary School
  • 1.00pm - Tai-Chi performance
  • 1.15pm - Chinese pop dance
  • 1.30pm - School activity - Bearpark Primary School
  • 1.45pm - Solo dance
  • 2.00pm - Vocal performance
  • 2.15pm - School activity - Confucius classroom, Durham Johnston School
  • 2.30pm - School activity - St Margaret's Primary School
  • 2.45pm - Han style clothing T show
  • 3.00pm - Solo dance
  • 3.15pm - School activity - Framwellgate Primary Primary School
  • 3.30pm - Jazz dance with Chinese element

Demonstration tables/items for sale in Town Hall

  • Activity/items for sale
  • Purses/girls bags
  • Chinese New Year products including lanterns, string, knots, keyrings etc.
  • Chinese tea art show
  • Craft activities
  • Calligraphy
  • Chopstick activity
  • Traditional handicrafts
  • Chinese seal/hairpin making
  • Chinese horoscopes
  • Durham University language centre - taster words
  • Oriental Museum 

Lion dance performances

  • Millennium Place at 12.30pm, followed by performances at
  • Prince Bishops Shopping Centre
  • Elvet Bridge
  • Framwellgate Bridge
  • Market Place
  • Walkergate Leisure

Oriental Museum, Elvet Hill, Durham DH1 3TH

Drop in to the museum between 1.00pm and 3.00pm to make Chinese lanterns and paper cuts to decorate the museum.
Activity suitable for children aged five to 11 years.
Usual museum entrance prices apply.

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