Lancaster graduates ensure Chinese New Year roars into City

Percy Lee and Josh Leung outside the City Museum holding Chinese calligraphy artwork
Preparing for the festival Percy Lee and Josh Leung outside the City Museum

Lancaster’s Chinese New Year Festival is set to be a roaring success as the city celebrates the Year of the Tiger.

Throughout January city centre streets will be festooned with traditional Chinese lanterns in preparation for the feast of indoor and outdoor entertainment taking place on February 5 and 6.

This year’s event, on the theme of Reunion and Blessing, is organised by Lancaster University graduates Percy Lee and Josh Leung, who received Lancaster Business Improvement District’s Young Persons of the Year Award for setting up Popber, a non-profitable social platform to help businesses in Lancaster.

“We really love Lancaster and want the Chinese New Year Festival to bring new energy and happiness to the community at the beginning of the Year of the Tiger,” said Josh and Percy.

They both graduated in 2021 – Josh in Management and Organisational Behaviour graduate, and Percy in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

It is hoped the festival will boost local businesses, attract tourists and make everyone from China feel at home in Lancaster.

The Dukes cinema will kick off the entertainment on February 1-2 with special preview screenings of Master Cheng (PG) about overcoming grief and the meeting of two cultures. Further screenings of war drama, The Eight Hundred (15) take place on February 8-9. Tickets are priced £6.50 full price/£5.50 concessions/£4 under 18s. For more information and to book visit or call 01524 598500.

Over the main festival weekend, a New Year celebration show will take place on February 5 at the Grand Theatre featuring top class performances of kung fu, shadow puppetry, traditional Chinese music and dance. Tickets priced £10 adult, £8, student and £5 children can be booked at or phone: 01524 64695.

The entertainment moves outdoors on February 6 with a New Year Carnival and Market in and around Market Square.

The carnival begins at 10am when the Dragon and Lion Dance is performed around the city centre, ending at 4pm in Market Square. There will also be performances of traditional music, kung fu and a drum workshop.

Stalls will be dotted around the Square, some selling products and food reflecting Chinese culture. A free photo booth and Fai Chun (Chinese calligraphy) writing workshop have also been organised.

City centre shops decorated on a Chinese New Year theme will offer special promotions and discounts too.

The festival is a non-profitable event and is funded by Lancaster University, Lancaster University Confucius Institute, Lancaster BID, Lancaster City Council and Lancaster District CVS.

For more information, visit

The origins of the Chinese New Year are steeped in legend. One legend is that thousands of years ago a monster named Nian (‘Year’) would attack villagers at the beginning of each new year. The monster was afraid of loud noises, bright lights, and the colour red, so those things were used to chase the beast away.

Celebrations to usher out the old year and bring forth the luck and prosperity of the new one, therefore, often include firecrackers, fireworks, and red clothes and decorations. Young people are given money in red envelopes.

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