The finale of our Chinese New Year Festival took place at our own Chinese Resource Centre with a audience representing a range of communities, languages and traditions. It was the first large scale New Year event since the pandemic and was encouraging to see how things had got back to normal.

The family focus of the event was reflected in the number of children present playing and enjoying the colours and sounds of the day. After a warm welcome from the Chinese community the programme of music and dance began.

Again with funding and support from the Ulster Scots Agency we were able to blend local traditional music, poetry and song into the programme. This gave many in our multi-ethnic audience their first experience of this rich traditional culture. 

The similarities and differences in language all added to the fun, with once Ulster Scots song repeating the word ‘dinni’ which means don’t however to the amusement of the crowd it sounded like Danny the name of our chairman. These small points of connection are what cultural fusion is really all about with different communities discovering the subtle differences and the often surprising similarities between them. 

The main Ulster Scots acts included the multi-talented Willie Drennan and friends and Andy McGreggor and his group. A range of traditional songs were not just played but an interesting educational commentary often followed helping those who were new to it all to learn more.

Our own dance troupes included the children whose energy and enthusiasm please not just their proud parents but the entire audience. Our main dance acts showcased the very best of traditional Chinese traditions and brought pour own culture and heritage into focus. 

The spirit of community fun and simple unity was clear and the enjoyment and engagement of the audience was appreciated by artists and organisers alike. This was a great start to a new year and after the long years of doing things online or with limited numbers it was great to be back stronger and better than ever !