A range of events and activities have been organised to help people in County Durham celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Durham City will be bringing in the Year of the Dragon on Saturday, February 10 with free activities, performances, and entertainment from a variety of different groups, organised by Durham County Council.

The lion dance procession will wind its way from Millennium Place through the city centre at 12.30pm, entertaining visitors with a colourful display and a special appearance by the junior dragon dance team from West Rainton Primary School.

This year, Durham University’s Dunelm House will host two shows where visitors can enjoy traditional music, songs, costumes, and dance performed by the Chinese Scholars and Students Association, the Han Fu Society and Durham Chinese School.

The Northern Echo: Primary schools across the county will also be demonstrating their knowledge of Lunar New Year traditions in a special performance.

International student volunteers from Durham University have been mentoring pupils from St Margaret's Primary School, Shincliffe Primary School, Wingate Primary School, St Andrew’s Primary School, and St Joseph's Primary School Newton Aycliffe, ahead of them taking part in the showcase.

Professor Claire O’Malley, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Global) at Durham University said: “We’re looking forward to being part of the Year of the Dragon celebrations.

"We have staff and students from over 120 countries at the University, and this is one of many opportunities throughout the year that this diversity offers for our staff and students and local residents to experience and celebrate different cultures and perspectives.”

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Clayport Library will also be sharing in the New Year celebrations, offering people the opportunity to learn Chinese with students from the university. Drop in to one of these sessions to pick up some useful words and phrases.

While there people can join Lip Lee for a lesson in papercraft to learn the intricate art of origami and mask making or pop down to Prince Bishops Place to visit artist Pui Lee.

The Northern Echo:

During this exciting workshop she will be demonstrating the traditional art of woodblock printing.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to get up close and handle some of the ancient items from the Oriental Museum’s collections, as well as taking part in a crowd crafting event to create dragon decorations for the museum.

To round off the celebrations, a lantern festival will take place on Saturday, February 24 where visitors can try fantastic crafts, sample delicious food, listen to stories, music and more. Booking will be required, and tickets will be available via Eventbrite nearer the time.

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Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “Come join us in Durham City for a fabulous, fun-filled day celebrating the Lunar New Year and welcoming the Year of the Dragon.

“There will be plenty of free activities to try and much to enjoy as we celebrate the different cultures and traditions, we have here in County Durham.”

Here are all of the events planned for Saturday:

From 10am to 4pm in the Clayport Library

  • Papercraft with Lip Lee - origami and mask making
  • Handle ancient objects from the Oriental Museum Collection
  • Crafty workshops

From 10.30pm to 3.30pm at Prince Bishops Place

  • Block print making workshop with Pui Lee

From 12.30 to 2.30pm at Millennium Place and around the city streets

  • See if the Mayor will catch the lucky lettuce outside Gala Durham to bring good luck to the city for the coming year
  • Follow the lion dance procession across the city, joined by the special junior lion dance team from West Rainton Primary School

Dunelm House:

11am – Thai Chi demonstration

11.15am - Pupils from County Durham schools will perform pieces learned from university student mentors and demonstrate their knowledge of Asian culture

12.15pm - Thai Chi demonstration

12.30pm to 2.30pm - Music, song and dance performed by members of the Chinese Scholars and Students Association, the Han Fu Society and Durham Chinese School

Oriental Museum:

11am to 1pm – Crowd Craft: Year of the Dragon

Opportunity to make some dragon decorations to display at the museum.