BRIGHT colours and beaming smiles filled Oxford Town Hall today as hundreds of people celebrated Chinese New Year.

The special event was bursting with energy as more than 1,000 people were estimated to have joined the event to mark the celebration.

Chinese New Year, which started on February 5, celebrates the beginning of the year of the pig.

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Once again, the Oxfordshire Chinese Community and Advice Centre (OCCAC) brought the celebration to the city centre to put on lunch and countless colourful performances.

Part of the organising team Lesheng Kong said: "The overall planning for the event normally takes much of the year, as soon as this event is finished we will start planning the next one.

"The programme takes about two to three months to put together and children start learning their dances a few months before."

The Oxford Times:

Dr Kong added: "It is overwhelming, the past two years it has been very well attended with more than 1,100 people last year. I think it will be the same this year.

"The event means a lot, especially to the young children. They're not living in China and Chinese New Year is a big thing over there - celebrated for 15 days.

"They can't experience that but at least they can experience the traditional Chinese performances, lion dancing, and clothes.

"It also provides a good opportunity for local people to see Chinese culture and usually we also have at least a third of visitors who are not Chinese - which is great to be able to include the whole community."

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The town hall was packed out this afternoon for the event with Chinese delicacies dished up in one room, and an array of performances wowing the crowds in the ballroom.

This included the traditional lion dance to start off the big afternoon show and was performed by the Berkshire-based group Sun Miao Xiao Daoist Centre.

Other local dancers and children followed on stage both dancing and singing.

The Oxford Times:

Oxford City Mayor Colin Cook was on hand to enjoy the celebration for the first time.

He said: "It is lovely to see the community come together like this.

"We are very lucky in Oxford to have such a multicultural community and it is great that people are celebrating and sharing traditions and this event with people in Oxford."