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Year of the Rat

Thousands pile into Chinatown for a cracker of a day

Published on February 11th 2008.

Year of the Rat

THERE'S something about the light and the bite in the air on Chinese New Year Sundays in Liverpool, or at least it's seemed that way on the last couple.

The milky sunshine, struggling to haul the city into springtime, casts new light, in every sense, on the dull and heavy winter wear of the throngs, themselves struggling to haul themselves through the grey of the streetscape.

Against all of this, on New Year days like these, explodes a riot of colour and noise, just as it has done for centuries: Europe's oldest Chinese community once again claiming the square mile (if that) under the arch as its own.

The Year of the Rat begins the sequence of 12 Chinese astrological signs. It is a time of renewal, hard work and activity. It is apparently a good year to begin a new job, get married, launch a product, make a fresh start or throw up a multi billion pound retail development in a northern city.

Our pictures show some of the fun and the fairground attraction of Sunday's Liverpool celebration, and the fascination on the faces of a multiracial mix of young and old.

Also included are the frolics of the travelling circus that is the dancing dragon as it did the rounds of the city's outerlying Chinese restaurants. They are caught here outside the Tai Pan making a noise like 10,000 saucepan lids being dropped. Next stop Tito's, they said, as they all piled back into the van.

Have a look at this lot. You might even be on here somewhere.

Words and pix: AS

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