The electric atmosphere, pounding drums and spectacular fireworks lit up Chinatown and Albert Square as thousands of excited onlookers welcomed the year of the dragon this weekend.
The city centre streets were transformed into the orient with Master Chu’s dragon parade and lion dancers entertaining the crowd.
While the actual Chinese New Year began last Monday, the celebrations are traditionally held on the first Sunday.
Markets, food stalls, arts workshops and fairground rides also lined the bustling streets and offered an insight into traditional Chinese culture.
The Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester (FCAM) worked in partnership with Manchester City Council and other sponsors to help organise the festival.
ENJOYING THE FESTIVITIES: Kasia Solarek and Kasia Wisniowska
Every year FCAM organises celebrations for major traditional Chinese festivities like Chinese New Year, the Mid-Autumn festival, the Dragon Boat festival and National Day.
Stewart Yip, President of FCAM, said: “At least 60,000 people have joined us today, which just proves how successful the event has been.
“As it is the year of the dragon we wanted to do something a bit more spectacular and special.
“Our main aim is to use this event to exchange friendship with the UK and allow people to understand more about the Chinese culture and enhance the links between local communities.”
Mr Yip also wished Manchester good health, wealth and happiness for 2012.
Councillor Mike Amesbury, executive member for culture and leisure, said: “The Chinese community are incredibly important to the heritage of Manchester and have played a huge part in the city’s history – so it is always great to see this culture being celebrated as a public festival for everyone to enjoy.”
The festival closed on Sunday night with a dazzling 15 minute firework display in Chinatown.
Filmmaking student Kasia Wisniowska from Poland said: “The show was amazing, it was pretty impressive.
“You could definitely feel the spirit of the New Year so I think it was really well done.”
Her friend, Kasia Solarek, a landscape architecture student, added: “I really like the atmosphere here because normally it’s a lot emptier in Chinatown and I don’t really think about the Chinese culture here.
“But tonight it was really cool and I enjoyed it.”