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NewcastleGateshead welcomes Chinese Year of the Snake

10th January 2013

Categories: Latest News

2013 will see the return of one of the biggest celebrations of its kind in the North of England, as NewcastleGateshead once again welcomes in Chinese New Year.

On Sunday 10 February, the Year of the Snake commences with a day of free events and performances for all the family, including traditional crafts, dance, music, martial arts and food and drink, with festivities commencing around Newcastle’s Stowell Street and Chinatown from 11am – 5pm.  This year’s festivities are sponsored by Aspers Casino

Also taking place is a unique opportunity to witness the ceremonial ‘Eye Dotting’ of the new lion, a tradition which brings this year’s dormant beast to life with the colouring in of its eyes, giving it sight, taste and power, and awakening its spirit while bringing good luck and plentiful fortune to all who take part.

Once awake, the lion will captivate audiences as it performs a colourful street dance alongside the Chinese dragon and unicorn, taking place beneath the ornate ceremonial arch poised at the entrance to Chinatown.

Carol Bell, Head of Culture and Major Events at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “Newcastle is host to one of the largest Chinese New Year celebrations in the North of England, with an enviable line up of traditional Chinese entertainment attracting thousands of people to the city.  2013 is set to be no exception, as the city will host a series of performances and inspired activities that come straight from the best-loved elements of Chinese culture.

“We’re delighted to welcome new partners on board, including BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle Arts Centre and Discovery Museum, who have all programmed special events for Chinese New Year, enhancing the partnership working that has made this event so successful.  I’d also like to thank Aspers Casino for its generous sponsorship of the Chinese New Year celebrations.”

Across NewcastleGateshead, the Chinese New Year programme will also see various events taking place in the weeks leading to and from the official beginning of Chinese New Year on Sunday 10 February.

These events include a Chinese Craft Workshop which will see visitors take part in Origami basket making and Chinese dragon puppetry (Discovery Museum, 9 January); a Chinese Watercolour Exhibition (25 January – 9 March) and full-day workshop led by Dr Chun-Chao Chiu (9 Feb), at Newcastle Arts Centre; Chinese storytelling and New Year Party (Gateshead Central Library, 6 – 8 February); Busy B’s Chinese decoration making for children (BALTIC, 10 February); and an authentic Chinese banquet (Palace Garden, 12 February), to name but a few.

For full details of all the events taking place during NewcastleGateshead’s Chinese New Year celebrations, please visit


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