Lunar New Year is the most important holiday in China and also celebrated by many people from other ESEA countries. Every year is characterised by one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac with 2023 marking the year of the rabbit. The rabbit is said to symbolise longevity, positivity, auspiciousness and wittiness, as well as cleverness and self-protection. There’s a lot of talk about hope and peace in the coming year with the rabbit in the driving seat in contrast to last year’s more ferocious tiger.
Across Manchester all sorts of Lunar New Year celebrations are planned with family friendly events, lantern making workshops and the return of the dragon parade, not to mention plenty of incredible local food.
Manchester-based artist and designer Stan Chow has also created some commemorative year of the rabbit stamps for the Isle of Man Post Office, noteworthy for any collectors reading.
Read on for our round-up of where to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Manchester.
Menus, dances and workshops at Ducie Street Warehouse
Thursday 19 – Sunday 22 February
Presenting four days of festivities to ring in Lunar New Year, Ducie Street Warehouse has created some special dishes and will be showcasing a range of entertainment. A Lunar New Year menu will be available from Friday 20 until Sunday 22 February with highlights including Cantonese style spring roll with peanut and chilli dipping sauce and vegan “crab” Rangoon.
Drink n Draw is also returning to the Manchester venue with a special Lunar New Year spin. Hosted by Pete Obsolete in partnership with Overdrawn, the event will invite guests to sip and stroke with Chinese-inspired materials and techniques. Alongside this, the warehouse is hosting a traditional lion dance to celebrate the year of the rabbit and a Chinese bamboo brush painting workshop that will introduce the delicate art form through basic brushwork and painting techniques.
Family storytelling and craft sessions at Z-Arts
Friday 20 January
To celebrate the year of the rabbit, Z-Arts is hosting a number of family friendly events that will see the centre pick rabbit themed stories to share from its children’s library. Families will also get the chance to join in with a make your own bunny ears craft session, while listening to the tales of Little Rabbit Foo Foo – a children’s book written by Michael Rosen.
A Winter Romance menu at Tattu
Saturday 21 – Sunday 5 February
For an extended period this Lunar New Year, Tattu is revamping its menu to feature brand-new dishes and huge sharing cocktails. On Saturday 21 January and Saturday 4 February, the restaurant will host traditional lion dancers from 9pm, alongside a special set sharing menu for £97.50 per person. The menu offers three courses that journey through Chinese fusion dishes including black cod croquettes, caramel soy aged beef and year of the rabbit mooncakes.
Piccadilly Gardens Chinese street food market
Saturday 21 – Sunday 29 January
For a whole week, a huge Chinese street food market will take over Piccadilly Gardens welcoming pop-up stalls serving traditional, homemade cuisine. The market will be open from 12-7pm every day until Sunday 29 January, so there’s plenty of time to get down and try out a new favourite dish.
Chinese New Year dragon parade
Sunday 22 January
Weaving its way through the city’s streets, the dragon parade returns to Manchester for Lunar New Year after a two-year hiatus. The 175 ft Chinese dragon will be accompanied by traditional lion and ribbon dancers, Chinese opera performers, 12 zodiac animals and ancient army characters. In a new route for 2023, the dragon will perform outside Manchester Central at 12pm before making its journey via Mount Street, Peter Street, Oxford Street, Portland Street, Princess Street and Faulkner Street to Chinatown.
Workshops, food and dragon performances in Chinatown
Sunday 22 January
Amongst Manchester’s fragrant, neon-hued Chinatown district the annual celebrations will continue all afternoon on Sunday 22 with food stalls, lantern making workshops, music and more. The events run from 12-7pm across the day, with two glittering illuminated night dragon performances also taking place at 5pm and 6pm.
Workshops, dances and craft classes at Manchester Central Library
Sunday 22 January
Join the team at Manchester Central Library for a spectacular celebration of Lunar New Year, ringing in the year of the rabbit with arts and crafts classes, Chinese performance, workshops and face-painters. The activities run from 12-4pm and are completely free to attend.
Lion dance and martial arts demonstration at Glamorous
Saturday 28 January
One of Manchester’s most popular Chinese restaurants, Glamorous is pulling out all of the stops this year with a lion dance and martial arts celebration for Lunar New Year, followed by a four-course banquet.
Diners can enjoy a line-up of live entertainment that will kick off at 7.30pm accompanied by a menu of traditional dishes, including chicken and sweetcorn soup, deep fried wontons, crispy seaweed, fillet steak in Cantonese Sauce and sweet and sour chicken. The four-course banquet is £35.50 per person and Glamorous will also be serving its a la carte menu across the evening.
ESEA Lunar New Year dinner at Yes Lah
Sunday 5 February
Over in West Didsbury, Filipino and Malaysian cafe Yes Lah is hosting a special supper club for the New Year celebrating East and South East Asian cuisine. The meet-up offers a chance for people to get together and socialise over some traditional home-cooked food, whilst sharing stories, learning and finding new friends. Each dish on the menu symbolises different Lunar New Year traditions, incorporating both Filipino and Malaysian cuisines.
Pre-order a prosperity salad from Hello Oriental
Hello Oriental has created a prosperity salad to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which is traditionally tossed and mixed to bring good fortune. Hello Oriental says: “Tossing up good fortune with the prosperity salad that symbolises an abundance of wealth and long life, it is believed the higher you toss the ingredients, the greater your fortune will be.” You can pre-order the salad now via the restaurant’s Instagram for delivery and it serves 4-6 people. As an optional extra, you can add jellyfish to your salad.
Grab food at your favourite Chinese or ESEA restaurant
Across the city we’re blessed with traditional Chinese gems, as well as many ESEA restaurants serving up home cooked food derived from intergenerational recipes. To celebrate Chinese New Year this weekend, why not head to some of the city’s finest institutions including Happy Seasons for some roast duck, or Salt & Pepper to sample some modern Chinese fast food. One Plus just off Oxford Road is also an excellent choice, a chance to get hands on with a Chinese hot pot as you cook your own ingredients in a pot of broth at your table.