HUNDREDS of people gathered at Oxford Town Hall to celebrate Chinese New Year yesterday.

Although Chinese New Year isn’t until Friday, the event was held to mark the start of the Year of the Horse and featured a traditional New Year lion dance, a buffet lunch and music.

It was organised by the Oxfordshire Chinese Community and Advice Centre, in Princes Street, Oxford, and about 600 people attended the celebrations between 12.45pm and 3.45pm.

Ni Long, of Knights Road, Blackbird Leys, was in the audience for the performances and said: “It was a fantastic event. Everyone was really happy.”

Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival in China and traditions vary – they can include families thoroughly cleaning their house in order to sweep away any ill-fortune.