SHORT Strand Community Centre hosted a special Chinese New Year celebration this week in conjunction with the Chinese Welfare Association and the centre’s children’s playgroup.
The event, which was attended by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, local Sinn Féin Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile, marked the Year of the Dragon and saw Chinese lion dancing from Belfast’s Success Lion Dance Association along with Chinese cultural workshops and food tasting from the Chinese Welfare Association.
Speaking about the event, Mayor Ó Donnghaile said it reflected the cultural melting pot that the Short Strand has become.
“It’s about fostering in kids at a young age respect for the other cultures and traditions that are so prevalent now in Belfast,” he said.
“Even in a small area like Short Strand, you can see the kids here from the Indian community, the Chinese community and other ethnic backgrounds and it’s great that they get an understanding and experience of other cultures.”
Bernie McConnell, Manager of the Short Strand Community Centre, said: “The Short Strand Community Forum organised the day and it was part of a project that was done in conjunction with medical students from Queen’s University who come to the forum twice a year to learn life skills. They are given dedicated projects when they are here and one of the students, Emma, who is from a Chinese background, organised today’s event along with the Chinese Welfare Association and the Short Strand playgroup.
“It was a great success and so well thought out. A lot of work went into it,” added Bernie.