CHINESE New Year celebrations will kick off this weekend in Southampton.

This year marks the year of the rooster, the tenth animal of the Chinese zodiac.

Although the new year falls on January 28, five events will take place in Southampton starting this Saturday.

Thousands are expected to come and celebrate the first event (January 14), which will take place at Southampton Guildhall Square from 11am until 4pm.

Traditionally in China, the new year festivities are celebrated for 16 days.

But the Chinese Association of Southampton has organised weekend events over the course of a month, to facilitate people working in the week.

The displays have been made possible after a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Association vice chancellor, Andy Lai said: " It is the first time ever we will have five separate celebrations.

"Having more events will make it more accessible to people who work or have busy schedules.

"It allows us to have more performers, who can put on longer displays - which is great for the audience too."

Attendees can expect a Chinese dragon and lion as well as kung fu displays and cultural food.

People born in the year of the rooster this year are thought to be trustworthy, with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility at work.

However according to Chinese astrology, the year of one's birth sign is the most unlucky year in the 12-year cycle.

"This is not just for Chinese people, it is a chance for the whole community to come together," said Mr Lai, a former Hampshire police officer.

There will also be Bollywood dancers and a performance from the UK Shaolin Temple.

The New Year, also known as “Spring Festival”, is the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar and millions of people will come together to celebrate the day that symbolises a new start.

Mr Lai said:"Anyone can celebrate Chinese New Year, whether they come to one of the events or even go to a Chinese a restaurant for a special meal.

"Although we live in England and it is now our home, it is important to uphold and celebrate our culture as well as teaching the young generation about tradition."

It is believed that in a Rooster Year, all of the Chinese zodiac signs can reap great rewards by tapping into Rooster traits including loyalty, commitment, hard work, family values.

Chinese New Year events:

• January 14 11am-4pm, at Southampton Guildhall Square

• January 21 11am-4pm, at Southampton Guildhall Square

• January 29 11am-4.30pm, at West Quay Shopping Centre

• February 4 11am-4pm, at The Spark, Southampton Solent University

• February 11 11am-4pm, at Southampton Guildhall Square