A colourful celebration will take over the streets of Southampton as hundreds herald the dawn of the Chinese New Year this February. 

Chinese communities all over the world will simultaneously bid farewell to the Year of the Rabbit and welcome the Year of the Dragon.

The Southampton community will come together for the series of events, also known as spring festival, which get underway with Southampton Chinese School's celebration at Cantell School on Saturday (February 3) from 3pm to 7pm. 

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The main event will take place on Saturday February 10, the first day of the Year of the Wood Dragon, the fifth animal in the Chinese zodiac cycle. 

There will be five dragons in place in Guildhall Square from 10.30am where families can enjoy dragon and lion dances at the 24th annual celebration.

A parade will make its way down to Westquay at midday where shoppers can enjoy free live performances, including Chinese drumming and dance, martial arts and tai chi displays and a Chinese costume show, as well as lantern making and calligraphy workshops.

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It comes as a new AI chatbot, developed in Southampton, is set to teach people about Chinese New Year in a UK first. 

"Lee", the first AI chatbot for Chinese New Year celebrations in the country, was developed by the Chinese Association of Southampton and AI innovator Enigmatica. 

The new technology is said to be a "significant step forward" in cultural education and is designed to be a comprehensive guide to the festival. 

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The Chinese Association of Southampton will attend the Bournemouth celebrations, at The Sovereign Centre on Saturday February 17 from 12pm to 3pm. Enjoy calligraphy workshops, aerial hoop, musical instruments and Tai Chi fan dancing. 

Then, in Portsmouth, at Kings Theatre on Sunday February 18 from 1.30pm to 4.30pm, there's a stage extravaganza to enjoy. Artists from China will sing, dance and perform Chinese traditional instruments, Sichuan Opera Face changing performance, kung fu and much more at this large variety show.

The Chinese Lantern Festival, on Saturday February 24 in Eastleigh Marketplace, marks the official conclusion of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

The free event, between 2pm and 4pm, will include dragon and lion dances, workshops and live performances.