THE Chinese Year of the Dragon got off to a roaring start in Portsmouth.
Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Chinese New Year with a variety show put on by the Portsmouth Chinese Association.
Singers, dancers and swordmasters took to the stage at Portsmouth Guildhall yesterday for three hours of performances.
And in keeping with tradition, the Yi Qun Lion Dance Troupe met the New Year with a fiery lion dance.
Chairman of the Portsmouth Chinese Association, Kam Ip, said: ‘The Chinese New Year is the most important event in the calendar.
‘The full celebrations last for 15 days.
‘I would like to thank everyone for coming and I would also like to thank our sponsors and the Portsmouth Guildhall.
‘I wish everyone a very prosperous Year of the Dragon.’
People were treated to Chinese songs sung by Yi-Q Zhang, Xu Xu, Zhuo Yang and Lucy Zhang.
There were several performances by the Portsmouth Chinese Association’s own dancing group and the Sunday Chinese School Children’s Dancing Troupe.
A group of models also walked down a catwalk to showcase traditional Chinese costumes in a fashion show.
The mayors of Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham and Gosport were all invited to watch the variety performance.
Portsmouth’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Cheryl Buggy, said: ‘I have huge admiration for the Chinese community in Portsmouth.
‘They are very active and have a very strong sense of family and tradition and I think that’s very admirable.
‘The Chinese community is a great asset to ours.’
The event was sponsored by Grosvenor Casino, the Hopelake Food Group and the Yan Woo restaurant in Kingston Road.