Chinese New Year celebrated in King’s Lynn

Lion dancers and fire crackers welcomed in the Chinese New Year at a community event held in King's Lynn yesterday.

The West Norfolk and District Chinese Association took over the town's Lynnsport for a party to mark the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit which started on Thursday.

Around 300 people enjoyed the traditional lion dance display accompanied by music played on a large drum, cymbals and gong which, together with the firecrackers, make enough noise to scare away any evil.

Celebrations for the new year are held over 15 days when members of the community eat a vegetarian dish called 'Jai' which, it is believed, will secure and long and happy life. The 15th day is usually marked with a lantern festival.

The West Norfolk association has around 300 members and they come together to celebrate both new year and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Guests at this year's event included West Norfolk Borough Mayor cllr Zipha Christopher.

Chairman Kwai Li said: 'It's been a great event - so many people!'

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In China most things come to a standstill for the two weeks over New Year and customs include spring cleaning the house and preparing for a new start. Homes are decorated with flower blossoms and fruit is often used as a decoration.

Mr Li added that the celebrations were a good opporunity for everyone to get together and discover more about the Chinese culture. The association had people on-hand to answer any questions and even show how to write names in Chinese calligraphy.

The Chinese calendar uses animals as an astrological image for each year and last week saw the end of the Year of the Tiger and a moved into the Year of the Rabbit - heralding 12 months of calm according to the horoscope.

Those born under the sign (1915, 27, 39, 51, 63, 75, 87 and 99) are said to be talented, virtuous and ambitious while being reserved by nature. They are admired by others and often financially lucky.