TRADERS in central Sheffield are surely happy to take all the luck they can get in these tough times - so a colourful blessing from a golden dragon had to be welcome.
Shops along Pinstone Street, The Moor and London Road were given a dance-by salute from two dragons and a colourful lion as Chinese New Year celebrations began in the city.
Shoppers and families from across the cultures watched the fancy moves by members of Sheffield Chinese School and Sheffield Chinese Association outside the Town Hall.
Lord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley took part in an initiation ceremony for the dragon before a group of young people battled with a chilly wind to make the sizeable creature writhe to a drum beat.
Association chairman Hock-Ann Chia said practise for the routine, ushering in the Year Of The Dragon, began in September.
“We were not prepared for windy conditions but we have done it in the snow before!” he said. “So we were quite ready for any weather.
“It is the most important time of the year for the Chinese and this is the most celebrated festival, a family affair.
“We feel it is important to celebrate it not only ourselves but hopefully other people want to celebrate with us and know about it.
“We want everyone to be involved and to understand Chinese culture. It’s important we live in harmony and in order to do so I think we should understand each other.
“Hopefully it will be a new start and will bring good luck, especially this year. To the Chinese, the dragon symbolises good luck, so hopefully it will be a good year.”
A new dragon and lioness will make their debut on January 29 in the Montgomery Theatre, Surrey Street, when a cultural show continues celebrations.