North West Welcomes Year of the Monkey

Chinese lanterns hung for Chinese New Year Credit: PA

Huge celebrations are planned across the North West to welcome in the Chinese New Year.Chinatown in Liverpool will be decorated with a thousand Chinese lanterns, while a massive dragon parade will take place in Manchester.This year it's the Year of the Monkey, the ninth animal in the cycle.

So what's planned?

Well in Liverpool, festivities kick off from 11am in Great George Square with a series of street performances, parades and the popular Chinese market selling gifts, souvenirs and mouth-watering food.

Here's the programme:

11 - 11.30am Pagoda Arts - Flower Drums and Fan Tai Chi

11.35 - 12.15pm Kwong Tam School of Tai Chi (in association with See Yep Association)

12.20 - 12.35pm Wah Sing - Traditional Chinese Dance & Song

12.35 - 1pm Pagoda Arts - Dance, Tai Chi, Happy Dance!

1 - 2pm Firecracker Display - Lucky Man, Dragon, Lion and Unicorn Parade arrives

2 - 2.15pm Gung Har Kung Fu School - Martial Arts Demonstration

2.20 - 2.30pm China Pearl - Chinese Round Fan Dance

2.35 - 3.15pm Kwong Tam School of Tai Chi (in association with See Yep Association)

3.20 - 3.30pm Movema Dance - San Jiao - The Chinese symbolism of trios blended with martial arts into contemporary dance

3.30 - 3.45pm Movema Dance - Chinese Dance Workshop - Suitable for all ages and levels.

3.45 - 4pm Movema Dance - Chinese Fusion community performance

The event is organised by the city council in partnership with the Liverpool Chinese Business Association.

For full listings details, visit www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/chinesenewyear2016

Meanwhile Manchester is set to be the biggest Chinese New Year Party outside of London. This year the celebrations will see new attractions across the city centre including a 50ft Giant Golden Dragon in Exchange Square, live street art by graffiti artists from Hong Kong, a Tsingtao Beer Ping Pong Bar and premium Asian Street Food Village on New Cathedral Street.

Thousands of red lanterns will decorate the shopping streets, while last year's New Year Light Show featuring a giant twisting snake and thousands of ascending lanterns will return to illuminate St Ann's Church.

Live music and lion dancing, 'A Taste of China' food market in St Ann's Square, shopping events and the famous Dragon Parade and fireworks finale in Albert Square and Chinatown complete the incredible line-up.

2016 also marks the 30 year anniversary of the city's Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art and will see the CFCCA collaborate with 30 prestigious artists, curators and academics who have contributed to the organisation, to produce an ambitious high-profile programme launching on February 4th.

For the full what's on listings go to www.chinesenewyearmcr.com