Local community groups in Bournemouth are planning to celebrate the biggest Chinese festival on 16th February in a new style.
Dorset Chinese Arts Society, a non-profit organisation, is dedicated to promoting Chinese culture in local areas through performances with traditional music and dancing.
Elizabeth Alford, the communication manager of the society, says the society has planned to take the oriental delight into nursing homes this year and ” bring some joy to these people who sometimes find themselves quite lonely”.
They are also collaborating with the Southampton Chinese Association to perform at the Westquay shopping centre.
Last year, the society organised a colourful family show featuring dancing, international musicians, choirs and a traditional dragon to mark Chinese New Year and support the local charity, YMCA.
Nearly 800 people attended the celebration, including Cllr Eddie Coope, the Mayor of Bournemouth.
The Mayor tells Buzz News,
Bournemouth is a multi-cultural town and embraces the Chinese community and its culture which we learned a lot about last year.
“We are still involved and working hard with the Chinese especially, with regards to the business side and hope for closer ties with China.”
However, Dorset Chinese Arts Society has found it difficult to continue the New Year celebrations from last year, due to the expense and a lack of funding, says Elizabeth.
The society believes that it is important for the council to recognise the importance of supporting local arts groups like them.
“Music and arts are the best forms to promote different culture,” Elizabeth says.
Having lived in the UK for 20 years, Mrs. Alford has noticed the change in British people’s perception of the Chinese community and culture.
Olivia Wang, President of the Chinese Students & Scholars Association Bournemouth, says that they are planning to celebrate the Chinese New Year in a more student-friendly style.
As one of the cultural societies at Bournemouth University, the Chinese Students & Scholars Association Bournemouth has a long tradition of hosting annual Chinese New Year gala on campus.
“Most Chinese students who attended the event last year thought it was too traditional, so we want to organise something different this year,” says Olivia.
The society has decided to have a special event at Cameo & Myu Bar on 16th February, hoping to bring Chinese and British students together to celebrate the festival.
“People often think Chinese students like to hang out within their own circle, but we are hoping to break the stereotype and help Chinese and British students get to know each other better,” Olivia says.