Hundreds of people enjoyed Chinese New Year celebrations in Southampton.

A display by the Southampton Chinese Association amazed onlookers in Guildhall Square and those visiting the city to celebrate the occasion on Saturday.

It marked the day Chinese communities all over the world simultaneously bid farewell to the Year of the Rabbit and welcomed the Year of the Dragon.

The first day of the new year started with dragon and lion dances at Guildhall Square from 10.30am where crowds enjoyed dances at the city's 24th annual celebration.

A parade then made its way down to Westquay at midday where free live performances, including Chinese drumming and dance, martial arts and tai chi displays, captivated crowds of shoppers.

Daily Echo: Susan Maggiore, 70Susan Maggiore, 70 (Image: Jose Ramos, Newsquest)READ MORE: Chinese New Year celebrations - in pictures

Susan Maggiore, 70, from Bitterne, said: “It’s the first time I have seen something like this, it’s lovely.

“It surprised me, I was expecting only Chinese people to take part, but it’s great that we have different people taking part in it, especially members of the fire service as well.”

She added: “It’s lovely to see all the cultures coming together to celebrate this.”

Daily Echo: Rose Taylor the Sousa, nineRose Taylor the Sousa, nine (Image: Jose Ramos, Newsquest)

Rose Taylor the Sousa, nine, was also impressed with the performance.

She said: “It was really good today. I think it was very well put together and I bet it took a lot of training. It was really exciting.”

Daily Echo: Sharon Liu, 28Sharon Liu, 28 (Image: Jose Ramos, Newsquest)

Sharon Liu, 28, a University of Southampton graduate now living in London was spending the weekend in the city.

She said: “It was amazing. I used to live here in Southampton, and I have come down for a weekend and saw this amazing show.

“I work in London now but because I know the people in the Chinese community I wanted to come down and spend the Chinese New Year here.

The accounting and finance graduate added: “It’s amazing that people can be walking up and they will stop to watch the show.

“It helps people to get a taste of the Chinese culture. Usually, people don’t know a lot about the Chinese culture so these sorts of events are really nice for people to find out more.”

Michael Ng, chairperson of the Chinese Association of Southampton, said it was a celebration bringing people together.

He said: "The Year of the Dragon is a time of great significance, symbolising strength, wisdom, and good fortune.

"It is a time to reflect on the past, embrace the present, and look forward to the future with hope and optimism.

"Our Chinese community here in Southampton is not just a part of the cultural fabric of our city; it is a vibrant thread that weaves through the very essence of our society.

"Through our customs, traditions, and values, we enrich the tapestry of Southampton's cultural mosaic, adding depth, colour, and diversity to our shared experiences."