Despite torrential weather that left the city’s sky overcast, Manchester’s celebrations of the Year of the Ram saw thousands come to enjoy the explosive finale to the annual Chinese New Year dragon parade. The most anticipated procession began at St Ann’s Square then snaked through the city’s centre streets, before culminating in China Town with stage speeches and performances, fire crackers and a 15-minute spectacular meteor of fireworks.
Amidst the celebrations however, there was confusion amongst visitors on whether it is the Year of the Ram or the Year of the Sheep or the Year of the Goat. Everyone agreed that this year’s celebrations marked the end of the Year of the Horse, but there was no consensus on what year we have reached. The uncertainty rose from the translation of the Chinese mandarin character 羊 (pronounced ‘yang’). The literal meaning is ‘horned animal’; however this vague translation does not help the event planners and celebrators to precisely know what they are honouring.
A Beijing office clerk, Chen Xufeng, told Xinhua news service that he has “thought about that question before. Do we have to tell them apart? I have seen more goats in zodiac images, but I prefer to buy a sheep mascot, as sheep are more fluffy and lovely.”
To add another spanner in the works, there is also the interpretation of the goat, which originates from the fact that it was one of only six animals eaten in ancient China and mostly by the rich and powerful.
The Hong Kong Post backed the translation of the Ram and even released a collectors’ series of stamps featuring the Ram. However within China, this confusion or argument with the translation doesn’t matter but does to those in the west trying to make sense of it.
Regardless of which translation you pick, the celebrations bring the most colourful winter festival to the city for everyone.
Following the parade, China town was filled with traditional lion dancers, martial arts displays, spectacular Chinese acrobatics, workshops and a funfair with over 20 rides on Charlotte Street. The festivity sprayed a colourful burst of an end to the sky, which by the evening, was a clear backdrop for the vibrant display.
TNT News Yasin Chinembiri