WE may have only just celebrated the New Year, but another important calendar date is rapidly hurtling towards us - Chinese New Year.

In preparation of this event, the Daily Echo takes a look back at the celebration through the years in Hampshire.

The year of the pig begins on February 5, 2019, when streets, precincts, halls, restaurants and homes across the globe will brim with colour and joviality to mark the occasion.

Those born on the year of the pig enjoy the lucky numbers two, five and eight; the lucky colours yellow, grey and brown; and they may find fortune with hydrangeas.

A picture from the Daily Echo archives shows the ushering in of the Year of the Pig in 1983, when a traditional Chinese lion dance and displays of martial arts entertained the crowds in Above Bar, Southampton. Many watched the colourful troupe as it wound its way around the precinct to the sound of beating drums and crashing symbols.

An image from 1987 shows the late former Southampton mayor Jack Candy painting the eye of the lion in Guildhall Square. This was for the upcoming Year of the Rabbit.