The Derbyshire Chinese Welfare Association celebrated the New Year at the May Sum restaurant in Derby on 24th February. This year is the Year of the Sheep ( Goat). Although the Chinese population is relatively small in Derby, and are distributed throughout the City, the event was very well attended, with approximately 150+ people taking part. Most of the community originate from Hong Kong, rather than mainland China.
The main focal point was the entry of the Lion into the building. It weaved between the tables, people daring to touch and stroke it. The energetic dancing was topped by the devouring of a “cabbage”. The entertainment was non-stop with many singers taking the stage, with one couple performing a traditional Chinese opera, a number of dances from the local dancers, and a very generous raffle. The occasion was also an opportunity to raise money for the Community Centre as it is not well-funded by the local authorities, or popular funding agencies, and needs to supplement its income to make sure that it properly serves its memberships. Although many of the community have lived in the UK for many years, a good proportion do not speak English so more work needs to be done to help with this situation.
Apart from a few people representing sponsoring groups, there were few people from outside of the Chinese community to see the festivities. Sadly, I suspect, Derby was generally oblivious to this wonderful display of colour and culture.