Manchester City Centre welcomes in The Year of the Rat, starting celebrations with a long weekend of fun, fireworks and good fortune planned across the city to celebrate

Chinese New Year

New Dragon Parade Route for 2020 announced

Head to Manchester to see in the Year of the Rat at one of Europe’s biggest Chinese New Year celebrations.

Organised by the Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester (FCAM), Manchester City Council and Manchester’s Business Improvement District (Manchester BID) this year’s celebrations will take place from 24 – 26 January.

Enjoy a long weekend packed full of fun and fortune featuring Manchester’s famous red lanterns, a glittering golden dragon, live performances and the city’s legendary Dragon Parade and fireworks finale.

There’s also free family-friendly workshops and events at a variety of venues including Manchester Central Library, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Arndale and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), along with themed product showcases at many city-centre shops.

New for this year’s celebrations is a spectacular illuminated dragon dance, lighting up Manchester’s Chinatown with performances each evening from Friday – Sunday at 5.30 pm, with additional performances at 6.30 pm & 7.30 pm on Friday and Saturday.

Embarking on a brand-new route for 2020, Manchester’s legendary Dragon Parade takes place on Sunday 26th, starting at 12.30 from outside Manchester Central Library in St Peter’s Square.

Manchester’s iconic 175ft dragon will be accompanied by lion and ribbon dancers, Chinese opera performers, giant Buddha dolls and the Chinese Scout parade as it weaves its way through the city’s streets.

Follow the dragon as it makes its way from St Peter’s Square down Peter Street to Oxford Street onto Portland Street before heading down Princess Street and into the heart of Chinatown for 2 pm.

Celebrations in Chinatown will be bigger than ever, extending across all three days from 12-8 pm on Friday and Saturday and 11 am – 8 pm on Sunday. Visitors can try their hand at Chinese arts & crafts, sample traditional Chinese cuisine from food and drink stalls and enjoy a ride on the funfair. On Saturday and Sunday head to the stage on Faulkner Street from 12-5 pm and enjoy performances from lion dancers, acrobats, singers and dancers, alongside Chinese poem reading and Kungfu demonstrations and don’t miss the stunning fireworks finale at 6 pm on Sunday.

Thousands of stunning red lanterns will once again adorn the streets, and Manchester’s 50ft glittering golden dragon will make a welcome return to St Ann’s Square, ready for snaps and selfies. Share yours using #ChineseNewYearMCR.

Jane Sharrocks, Chair of Manchester’s Business Improvement District, Manchester BID and General Manager at Selfridges Exchange Square, said: “Chinese New Year is an established highlight of Manchester’s annual events calendar and is certainly one of the UK’s biggest and brightest cultural festivals. Manchester Business Improvement District is a network of city centre retailers, and we’re delighted to be continuing our partnership with Manchester City Council, FCAM and Marketing Manchester to host the celebrations again this year.”

Lisa Yam, President of the Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester (FCAM), said:

“Chinese New Year has always been the most important and cheerful festival within Chinese culture, and I hope that the whole community in Manchester will take this opportunity to come together to celebrate the New Year of the Rat.  This year we have an extended three-day celebration in Chinatown NCP carpark which will include food stalls and entertainment.  Our spectacular new Night Dragon will also be making several appearances from 5:30 pm each evening.” 

Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester’s city centre spokesperson, said: “Manchester’s Chinese New Year celebrations are always a spectacle to behold, drawing in tens of thousands of people into the city. Manchester has the largest Chinese population in the UK outside of London, and we welcome every opportunity for the city to come together as one and celebrate in unity. To all those celebrating, I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.”

MUST-SEE EVENTS

Illuminated Dragon Dance

Chinatown
NCP Car Park, Faulkner Street
Friday 24 January @5.30pm, 6.30 pm & 7.30pm
Saturday 25 January @ 5.30pm, 6.30pm & 7.30pm
Sunday 26 January @ 5.30pm
FREE

New for 2020, a stunning illuminated dragon will light up Chinatown each evening with performances at 5.30 pm (Friday – Sunday), and additional performances at 6.30 pm & 7.30 pm on Friday and Saturday.

The Dragon Parade (New Route for 2020)
Begins outside Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s Square
Sunday 26 January @ 12.30 pm
FREE

Follow the famous 175ft dragon as it weaves its way through the city’s streets along a new route for 2020’s celebrations. Starting from outside Manchester Central Library in St Peter’s Square, the city’s iconic dragon will be accompanied by the traditional lion and ribbon dancers, alongside Chinese opera performers, giant Buddha Dolls and the Chinese Scout parade, as it weaves its way through the city.

Look out for the dragon as it makes its way from St Peter’s Square down Peter Street to Oxford Street onto Portland Street before heading down Princess Street and into the heart of Chinatown for 2 pm. And be sure not to miss the fireworks finale at 6 pm on Sunday evening.

Giant Golden Dragon
St Ann’s Square
Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 January, 10am – 6pm
FREE

Head to St Ann’s Square to catch a glimpse of the 50ft giant, glittering Golden Dragon that has taken up residence for the weekend. Share your pics using #chinesenewyearMCR.

FAMILY EVENTS

Sunday Funday: Chinese New Year
Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s Square
Sunday 26 January, 12-4 pm
FREE

Join Manchester Central Library for a celebration of Chinese arts, crafts and culture on one of their exclusive Sunday openings.

Families can celebrate the Year of the Rat with Chinese music, art and dance and take part in an afternoon packed full of activities with the Confucius Institute of Manchester University and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA).

Make a badge using images from the CFCCA Archive & Library, take part in an artist-led activity by CFCCA based around personal histories and learn about the Chinese tea ceremony in an exclusive workshop.

Get there early to see a fantastic lion dance performance from Manchester Chi Mo Martial Art Centre outside the library just before they open at 12 pm.

Chinese New Year: Family Craft Workshops with Manchester Confucius Institute
Exchange Court, Manchester Arndale
Saturday 25 January, 11 am – 4 pm
FREE

Manchester Arndale will be transformed into a hive of creative workshops for families as part of Manchester’s Chinese New Year celebrations. Join teachers from Manchester Confucius Institute who will spend the day introducing children and their parents to the Chinese zodiac and Chinese paper folding, then use these newly learnt skills to make your paper rat. Children can also create and enjoy zodiac wheels and tattoos to welcome the Year of the Rat.

Chinese New Year: Make a Mythical Beast with Joey Yu
Exchange Court, Manchester Arndale
Sunday 26 January, 11 am – 3 pm
FREE

Join Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) and artist Joey Yu to reinvent the Chinese New Year practice of making paper dragons and create your mythical beast to take home with you.

Chinese New Year at CFCCA
Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Market Buildings, Thomas Street
Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 January, 10 am – 5 pm
FREE

Visit Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art over the Chinese New Year weekend to submit your entry in a drawing competition for a chance to win an original drawing by artist Joey Yu and a range of runner-up prizes.

SHOPPING
Celebrate the Lunar New Year at Harvey Nichols Manchester with DJs, special offers and Tarot card consultations, plus there’s 10% off via Alipay*.

Saturday 25 January, 3 – 8 pm
FREE

Welcome to Chinese New Year with live DJ sets and special offers.
Saturday 1 February, 10 am – 6 pm

Discover what the Year of the Rat has in store for you – from love and wealth to wellbeing and career progression – with intuitive Tarot Card consultations by The Wellness Foundry.

Tickets £60. To book, click here.
*From 18 January – 2 February 2020. T&Cs apply.

Chinese New Year, Manchester city centre
Friday 24 – Sunday 26 January 2020

visitmanchester.com/chinesenewyear

@ChineseNYMCR
#ChineseNewYearMCR
#YearoftheRat