As Tuesday may have been the official start of the ‘Year of the Pig,’ up to 40,000 people were expected in Birmingham for its Chinese New Year festivities as a series of parades and performances were planned, with celebrations ending in the city's Chinatown district yesterday, as flying dragons and dancing lions paraded through the city’s Chinese Quarter, with performers taking part in what organisers claim as one of the biggest celebration outside China.

The Chinese Festival Committee Birmingham presented Birmingham’s Chinese New Year celebrations, co-produced by Birmingham Hippodrome – which was sponsored by Birmingham Airport and in association with Birmingham City Football Club as part of three days of festivities across the city.

The streets in Chinatown and around the theatre came to life with show-stopping lion dances, traditional Chinese music and dance performances, market stalls and a fun fair while with free performances in and around the Arcadian Centre as well as in the Patrick Studio, in the Hippodrome, and a free family craft workshop in the foyers.

Prior to that, a special concert was held at St Philip's Cathedral with performances by Birmingham Conservatoire and Dans Dance Company, with James Wong, chair of Birmingham's Chinese Festival Committee, saying; "This year's programme was hugely exciting and diverse, and  us saw us working with all our partners to bring Chinese New Year to places and spaces across the city.

We are very proud of our heritage in bringing this unique and unforgettable spectacle to life."

The pig is one of 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac and is believed to be a symbol of optimism, enthusiasm and hard work.