HUNDREDS of people descended on Southampton city centre to celebrate Chinese New Year in style.

A range of displays and dances were put on to help welcome in the Year of the Pig.

The UK Shaolin Temple teamed up with Solent University and the Confucius Institute at Southampton University to organise Saturday's event in Guildhall Square, and Sunday's event is being held at Westquay by the Chinese Association of Southampton.

Founder of UK Shaolin Temple, Shi Yan Ming said: “Our aim is to set the city alight with colour, fun, talent, understanding and unity through the celebrations.

"The pig is a symbol of abundance, peace and prosperity and so this year is predicted to be lucky.”

This year's celebrations marked the first time with Southampton City Council as sponsor.

Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Stephen Barnes-Andrews, officially opened the celebrations by 'Waking the Lion' on Saturday afternoon.

Other activities included the traditional Lion and Dragon dances, as well as martial arts and acrobatics, Chinese music and dance, Bollywood dancers and the Tamasha Japanese drummers.

Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival celebrating the new year, which begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice and ends on the full moon fifteen days later.

It is marked by visits to family and friends, special meals, fireworks, and gift giving.