News & Events

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Manchester

Posted on 13 Feb 2020 in CLTalk

This year we have had our busiest Chinese New Year yet! Our Confucius Institute has been providing a whole host of workshops, performances and activities for the Greater Manchester area.

We began with cultural workshops, which are always popular for schools and businesses to celebrate. Over the past few years we have grown to provide these to an increasing number of schools, with requests for us to return each year. This year we also collaborated with Manchester Airport in their community outreach efforts by offering workshops to schools that lie within areas that are affected by the airport. We attended 12 different schools and provided workshops to several hundred children, all eager to learn and get involved. We also attended businesses such as Manchester Airport and City Tower, allowing their staff to learn brush painting, calligraphy, Chinese knot making and Mandarin tasters. Everyone very much enjoyed experiencing this taste of Chinese culture.



Over the Chinese New Year weekend, we celebrated with families in Manchester city centre. We began on Saturday with our annual spot in Manchester Arndale Centre. Each year we try to find fun ways for children to learn about the Chinese zodiac. With this year being the Year of the Rat, we taught how to make paper rats using Chinese paper folding, with lots of colourful creations being made. We also had Chinese zodiac wheels for children to colour and temporary tattoos featuring our very own CI Year of the Rat illustration, which all members of the family seemed to enjoy!

Whilst families were entertained in the Arndale Centre, shoppers in Selfridges were treated to traditional tea ceremonies and calligraphy. Names and blessings were written on to tags by our teachers using the beautiful calligraphy technique. To end Saturday’s festivities, we contributed to Manchester Chinatown’s Chinese New Year 2020 celebrations with musical performances.



On Sunday, we returned to Central Library after the success of last year’s Chinese New Year, with activities throughout the day. This included a Guzheng performance, a dance workshop, a Dizi performance and finishing with a Tai chi workshop. Families fully enjoyed the workshops, with children thrilled to learn the movements. During this time we also performed tea ceremonies, with guests able to taste the tea whilst learning more about its role in Chinese culture.


This year, we were invited to be part of Manchester Art Gallery’s celebrations. We saw a high turnout of families as we performed a traditional Chinese Folk Dance, during which people could take part in a live drawing session. Following this there was a Guzheng performance, with children all eager to go up and give it a try for themselves afterwards. We then had Tai chi with another live drawing session and finished with a Dizi performance.


For adults, we held Chinese brush painting sessions at Virgin Money Lounge. Participants had the choice of painting onto Xuan paper, which is traditionally used, or a Chinese fan which provided a wonderful keepsake. We also spent a second day at Selfridges offering personalised calligraphy tags to shoppers. It was a great way to share such a traditional part of Chinese culture with people and was extremely well received.

To conclude our Chinese New Year, we held our annual Gala for schools. It’s one of our favourite events and is always thoroughly enjoyed by all of the school children who attend. We welcomed a team of performers from China to entertain us with a colourful and action packed show of acrobatic skills, juggling, contortion, Chinese opera and of course the auspicious Lion Dance. This year was our best selling Gala yet and we can’t wait to hold it again next year.

It’s always exciting to see our schedule grow each year, with more and more people wishing to celebrate Chinese New Year with our help. From all of us at Manchester Confucius Institute, we would like to wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Rat.

Katie Ainscough, Confucius Institute Manchester