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HomeNewsChinese New Year 2024: Chatham Celebrates The Year Of The Dragon

Chinese New Year 2024: Chatham Celebrates The Year Of The Dragon

Many residents across Kent came together on Saturday, February 17th, to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chatham, Medway.

The free event was hosted in Chatham’s High Street from 11 am to 3 pm.

A traditional parade kicked things off, which had everything from swirling dragon dances, mascots – representing the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac – interacting with children of all ages, and handmade floats that burst the streets in all shades of colour.

Local representatives and organisations such as Medway UK and Chancheng-Foshan Friendship Association, and Kut-O Chinese Association were in attendance, proudly representing their community through the bold banners of their organisations.

When the parade ended, visitors were invited to watch performances on Military Road from the Medway Dragon Team, Lion Dance Team – who travelled from Foshan, China – and the Wilmington Chinese Association.

A highlight of the performance was that one lucky child took centre stage alongside the dancing lion’s performance.

Towards the end of the parade, attendees continued the festivities in the Pentagon Shopping Centre to watch performances from local groups, including the Medway Dragon Dance Team, Jet Dance School, and Dance Alley.

Proud parents watched in awe as these local groups paid tribute to the event, highlighting Chatham’s talents and cultural diversity.

A visitor who travelled from Gillingham to watch the event said: “We came down as the festival is a great opportunity to get people together and celebrate what makes our community so great. A highlight of mine was watching the dragon performance during the parade.”

In addition, various local businesses, such as Mrs Sourdough and Poco Loco, supplied many refreshments and food options, from Quesadillas to Croissants.

A local business owner said: “My customers were thrilled to see local businesses on display, discovering all of what Chatham has to offer.”

Associations such as Medway Chinese School, Medway Chinese Methodist Church, and The London Chinatown Chinese Association set up stools, providing activities such as Chinese calligraphy, selling traditional Chinese treats and keep-sakes, and interacting with visitors.

Councillor Vince Maple, leader of the Medway Council and the Labour and Co-operative Group, said on X: “Absolutely phenomenal Chatham Chinese New Year celebration. Many people saying the largest event in Chatham town centre for a very long time.”

“Thanks to all who made it possible and took part (as well as those who enjoyed it),” he added.

Chatham’s Chinese Festival will be the second event in Kent to honour the Chinese New Year in 2024. The first event occurred in Maidstone’s Jubilee Square on Saturday, February 3rd.

The official Lunar New Year falls on Saturday, February 10th, and the Year of the Dragon will end on Tuesday, January 28th 2025.

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