Fun, fireworks, good fortune…and a spectacular new illuminated ‘dragon dance’

The trees are bedecked with red lanterns and posters displaying a certain rodent are popping up across the city - yes, it’s Chinese New Year time.

Manchester will be welcoming in Year of the Rat with three days of free celebrations from Friday 24th - Sunday 26th January. Enjoy a long weekend packed full of fun and fortune featuring live performances, family-friendly crafts and the iconic dragon parade and fireworks finale

Manchester’s 50ft giant golden dragon will be returning to St Ann’s Square on Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm, while new for this year’s celebrations is a spectacular illuminated dragon dance; lighting up Manchester’s Chinatown with performances each evening from Friday to Sunday at 5.30pm, with additional performances at 6.30pm & 7.30pm on Friday and Saturday.

2020 01 10 Chinese New Year
Share your snaps with the giant golden dragon via #ChineseNewYearMCR

Embarking on a brand-new route for 2020, Manchester’s legendary dragon parade takes place on Sunday 26th, starting at 12.30pm from outside Manchester Central Library in St Peter’s Square. The famed 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 down Peter Street to Oxford Street and onto Portland Street before heading down Princess Street and into the heart of Chinatown for 2pm.

Celebrations in Chinatown will be bigger than ever, extending across all three days from 12-8pm on Friday and Saturday and 11am-8pm on Sunday. Visitors can try their hand at Chinese arts and 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 12-5pm for performances from lion dancers, acrobats, singers and dancers - alongside Chinese poem reading and Kungfu demonstrations - and don’t miss the stunning fireworks finale at 6pm on Sunday evening.

2020 01 10 Chinese New Year Carl Sukonik
The dragon parade is an annual highlight Carl Sukonik

Harvey Nichols Manchester will also be joining in the festivities with DJs and special offers including 10% off via Alipay (T&Cs apply). As well as a free event on Sunday 25th January 3-8pm, the store will be hosting a tarot card consultation with The Wellness Foundry on Saturday 1st February; tickets £60 on eventbrite.

Manchester’s Chinese New Year celebrations are organised by the Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester (FCAM), Manchester’s Business Improvement District (Manchester BID) and the city council. Cllr Pat Karney 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.”   

Chinese New Year takes place from 24th - 26th January citywide, all events are free…

Main events 

2019 01 10 Cny Poster
Year of the Rat imagery by Stanley Chow

Family events

Family craft workshops | Exchange Court, Manchester Arndale | Saturday 25th January, 11am-4pm

Manchester Arndale will be transformed into a hive of creative workshops for families in this CNY special. Learn about Chinese zodiac and paper folding thanks to teachers from Manchester Confucius Institute, then use these newly learnt skills to make your own paper rat. Children can also create and enjoy zodiac wheels and tattoos to welcome the Year of the Rat.

Make a mythical beast | Exchange Court, Manchester Arndale | Sunday 26th January, 11am-3pm

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 own mythical beast to take home with you. Fancy winning one of Joey’s originals drawings or runner-up goodies? CFCCA is also running a drawing competition; visit its home on Thomas Street on Saturday or Sunday 10am-5pm to submit your artwork.

Sunday funday | Manchester Central Library | Sunday 26th January, 12-4pm

Join Manchester Central Library for a celebration of Chinese arts, crafts and culture on one of their exclusive Sunday openings. Make a badge using images from the CFCCA Archive & Library, take part in an artist-led activity 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 12pm.