THERE will be plenty of horsing around this weekend as the Chinese New Year celebrations get underway in Worcester.

The Chinese New Year begins today (Friday) and to celebrate the Year of the Horse, a colourful free event will mark the major holiday for the Chinese.

Organised by the Worcester Chinese Association, a spectacular event is taking place on Sunday, February 9 at Worcester's Guild Hall from noon to 3pm.

It is the 13th year the association has gathered dancers and performers, with this year promising to be as spectacular and energetic performance as ever.

Entertainment will include fire crackers, a Chinese Lion Dance, a special Chinese Acrobatic team which are coming all the way from China along with traditional Chinese musical performance.

Worcester Mayor Pat Agar and Chinese students from Worcester University have been invited to attend along with anyone else who would like to join in with the celebrations.

Chairman Frankie Tsang, who owns the Four Seasons in Powick, said he hoped his horse Busby, owned by Bill Jones of Peopleton, would remind people about the important traditional Chinese holiday.

"The year of the horse only comes around every 12 years," he said. "It's a better year than last year. The economic situation is improving which means more jobs and people are generally happier.

"People born in 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, are cheerful and popular but impatient. They are handy with money and always a winner."

Mr Tsang, who will be hosting celebrations at his restaurant on Wednesday and Thursday, said Chinese New Year was also a chance to remind youngsters about their culture.

"The celebration is also important for the children to understand more about Chinese culture and get an interest in learning the Chinese language," he said. "It's so important to speak Mandarin for the future .

"Even our Prime Minister David Cameron recently went to China and heavily recommended the next generation to learn Chinese."

Other events to celebrate Chinese New Year will be held in the Arcadian Centre, Birmingham, London's China Town while restaurants around Worcester will have their own celebrations.

Chinese New Year is an important traditional Chinese holiday celebrated on the first day of the year of the Chinese calendar.

Celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year's Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month.

The lunar calendar is based upon the cycles of the moon and has 12 animals, one to represent each year of the lunisolar cycle.

At Chinese New Year people traditionally wear red clothes and give children "lucky money" contained in red envelopes and to mark the holiday families typically reunite and gather at each other's homes to celebrate and eat together.

It is also tradition for households to thoroughly cleanse the house to sweep away ill fortune and make way for good luck, to decorate windows and doors with red paper-cuts and to light firecrackers.