Tyne and Wear go bananas for Chinese Year of the Monkey

Last weekend saw Sunderland’s first ever city-wide celebration for Chinese New Year.

And this weekend it will be Newcastle’s turn to host the party as dancers, market stalls and craft makers will descend on the streets of Chinatown to celebrate the lunar new year.

Joanne Cunningham, from the Sunderland Museum and Winter garden, was delighted with how the event went last weekend.

She said: “This is the first year that Sunderland has celebrated a city-wide new year.

“It is interesting for people to explore other cultures and it was brilliant here at the museum. We had over 2,300 people and it was a really lovely family event.

“Lots of Chinese students and Chinese businesses came and celebrated their culture with others and it was a great day. We had a lion dance, a unicorn dance, and two lots of martial arts. It was a really strong community event.

“As a city, it shows that we have a strong cultural identity. Lots of Chinese students and people come to this city and make it their home, so it is nice to be able to give them something to celebrate in the city and make them feel welcome.”

It is now the Year of the Monkey, the ninth of the 12 zodiac animals, and those born in the next 12 months are said to be intelligent, dignified, optimistic and romantic among other idiosyncrasies.

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