Today, Manchester’s Chinese community welcomed in the year of the snake in the best way they knew how. The city centre descended into lock-down as a colourful dragon-parade pranced it’s way from Manchester Town Hall into Chinatown. I myself had never been to any kind of Chinese New Year celebration before today, so I thought I would brave the obscene weather and see what I was missing.
Granted, I didn’t stay very long but what I did see, caused me to be momentarily overwhelmed – something I certainly wasn’t expecting. For some reason I had always thought that the whole ‘loads of men puppeteering a giant fabric dragon through the streets’ was a bit of a myth or exaggeration… Clearly I was wrong! I was in fact treated to two giant fabric puppet dragons!
The dragons were preceded by people of all races sporting Wings Chinese jumpers handing out sweets. When I tried one later on I discovered that they tasted like absolute heaven – if heaven’s main ingredient is strawberries. This made me laugh, and I was reminded of how much Chinese New Year can be something for everyone to enjoy, not just the Chinese community living here. I know that Chinatown is an important part of the city centre, despite the fact that I never go there personally.
I know, I know, a yoghurt has more culture than me.
I wish I’d have had the staying power to see the fireworks later on in the evening but I think chilblains might have set in by then. I did get a nice view of the beginning of the parade though, complete with firecrackers that smelt so good they nearly put me in a trance. And how can anybody possibly complain about that one?