The Chinese New Year 2020 lion dance in Durham is a key part of the city's celebrations. Here's the time and location for 2020.

Although Chinese New Year 2020 is on Saturday January 25, Chinese New Year 2020 events in Durham will happen the following weekend, on Saturday February 1.

There's a whole host of activities planned, from school music performances to traditional craft workshops and stalls. St Oswald's Primary School will start the festivities at 10.30am at Durham Town Hall, before traditional Chinese dance, music and singing until 3.30pm.

We've got a full roundup of the activities in our Durham Chinese New Year events story.

But undoubtedly one of the key events that everyone looks forward to is the fantastic Durham Chinese New Year lion dance.

When is the Chinese New Year lion dance in Durham?

The traditional lion dance - always a highlight of Durham's Chinese New Year celebrations - will start at Millennium Place in front of the Gala Theatre at 12.30pm on Saturday February 1, before performing around the city centre.

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Performed by Oceans Apart Kung Fu Club, the Durham lion dance will then process through the streets performing in Prince Bishops Shopping Centre, on Elvet Bridge and Framwellgate Bridge, at The Riverwalk, in Durham Market Place, then on to Clayport Library and finally Walkergate and its restaurants.  

Children from Langley Moor Primary School will join the lion dance procession and performing at each venue in lion costumes they have created themselves from scratch.

Part of the fun will be seeing spectators catching pieces of lettuce thrown by the Durham Chinese New Year lion dancers.

Why will the Durham Chinese New Year lion dancers throw a lettuce?

Part of the traditional lion dance involves the lion 'eating' a lettuce. This is all about conferring good luck for the year ahead, and has its roots in the phonetic connections between the words for lettuce - or 'picking the greens' - and the words for good fortune, or prosperity. People would leave a lettuce for the lion outside their business, often containing a reward in a red packet for the lion dancers. After approaching it curiously, the lion eats the lettuce, then spits out the pieces. Catching a piece signifies good luck.

In times gone by, spectators would place obstacles in the way of the lettuce, or hang the lettuce up high so that only expert lion dancers would be able to reach it, possibly by climbing on each others' shoulders. This was all part of the spectacle - and the lion dancers would certainly have earned their reward.

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