Chinese New Year display leaves Portsmouth shoppers stunned

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HUNDREDS of shoppers were left amazed by a performance to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth was given a Far Eastern makeover to bring in the Year of the Rooster.

Chinese New Year celebrations at Portsmouth Guildhall
Picture: Habibur Rahman

Chinese New Year celebrations at Portsmouth Guildhall Picture: Habibur Rahman

A traditional Chinese dragon paraded through the designer outlet shopping centre to music by drum artists, turning the heads of many a passer-by.

A lion dance followed, before celebrations ended with the Shaolin Kung Fu show, performed by the UK Shaolin Temple.

The daring performers demonstrated advanced weapon techniques, lying on a bed of nails, stick and brick-breaking and group nunchuk displays.

Yvonne Clay, senior marketing manager at Gunwharf, was delighted with how things went.

It was a wonderful way of educating people and entertain them about the culture.

Yvonne Clay

She said: ‘We really wanted to support the large Chinese community in Portsmouth.

‘By putting on an authentic show, it was a wonderful way of educating people and entertaining them about the culture.

‘It has been a number of years since we put on something like this for Chinese New Year and we wanted to do something extra special.

‘I would potentially love to put this on annually and we were delighted to work with the UK Shaolin Temple.’

The UK Shaolin Temple is a UK registered charity who look to preserve the culture of ancient Shaolin monastery.

Tom Board, one of the trustees of the charity, said: ‘The dragon dance around the shopping centre helped get people in – we were like the pied piper.

‘Our real mission is to get people to invest in their bodies. Martial arts is a way of getting fit and training your mind. We’re happy to inspire people to get fit.’

David Harrison, from North End, went to Gunwharf specifically for the show with his wife, Fiona.

Mr Harrison said: ‘I loved the show - I thought it was great.

‘It is great to see so many people celebrate the Chinese culture .

‘I like it down here and enjoyed seeing the dragon going round.’

Michaela Ansell, of Portsea, said: ‘It was absolutely brilliant.

‘I live across the road so I thought it was definitely worth coming across for.’

Marianne Phiri, from Southsea, took her two daughters Coco, nine and Tia, seven, to learn more about the culture.

Coco also joined in with a lesson the UK Shaolin Temple put on after their performance.

Marianne said: ‘The show was fantastic and they have even encouraged my daughter to have a go,

‘I thought it was interesting and good for the girls to understand the Chinese culture.’