Canberra is gearing up for a vibrant celebration of the Lunar New Year, with events spanning over two weekends from last night, culminating in a grand celebration on Saturday 21 January in Dickson.
The event, supported by the City Renewal Authority (CRA), kicked off with a bang, as local community groups and lion dance performers took to Dickson in a colourful parade.
Woolley Street came alive with a dazzling array of colour, sound, taste, and aroma as the local businesses, community groups and interstate artists came together to welcome in the Year of the Rabbit.
One of the highlights of the celebration will be the unveiling of a stunning Zodiac Rabbit sculpture, a symbol of prosperity and good fortune in the coming year.
The Year of the Rabbit symbolizes longevity, positivity, auspiciousness, wittiness, cautiousness and deftness in Chinese tradition. People can expect hope, patience and calm this year, much like rabbits are in the wild.
“People who are born in the Rabbit year are very polite and gentle,” said Chin Wong, the president of the ACT Chinese Australian Association (ACT CAA), which will bring traditional Chinese dances to the celebration.
“The rabbit’s message to us is one of friendliness and kindness so, hopefully, we can all be a little more patient and peaceful this year as well.
“And with the unveiling of this sculpture, we can all reap more luck in the new year,” Ms Wong said.
Attendees can also expect to be wowed by the power of the percussion and energetic lion dance performances by the Prosperous Mountain Dragon and Lion Dance (PMDLD) team.
David Wong, founder and troupe leader of PMDLD, said they love performing, especially during the Lunar New Year period.
“We are excited to bring several new things to this event, including our proud Canberra-themed lions, our cute junior lions who are back and love interacting with children of all ages, and our mascot Bugsy!
“We will have a new routine for the lions this year (as with every year) so we hope everyone can enjoy the power of the percussion and energetic lion movements of our vibrant lions,” he said.
David’s passion for lion dance started at a young age, as his father was also a lion dancer. He started this team in 2007 with a small group of dedicated volunteer youths and the incredible support of community leaders.
“We work closely with the Canberra community to perform across a range of festivals and events across the city throughout the year. We welcome anyone from any background, age, culture or religion to be part of our team,” David said.
The Lunar New Year, which takes place on the new moon of the first lunar month, commences the lunar calendar and this year it falls on 22 January. It is a good time for families and communities to come together.
The celebration will be held on Woolley Street, the newly revamped area that is open to the public. Local communities see this as an opportunity to showcase Canberra’s diverse cultural heritage and support local businesses during the auspicious period of the Lunar New Year.
“I, and many Canberrans, hope this can become an annual event in Dickson, allowing Canberrans and visitors to celebrate, experience new things, and appreciate the beautiful Asian culture we are proud to have in Canberra,” David said.
Chin Wong added: “Dickson is known as Canberra’s Chinatown, with a variety of Asian cuisine. However, the restaurants on this street have struggled during the pandemic.
“I hope everyone will come to the cultural celebration, dine with their families, and support our local businesses while enjoying the multicultural atmosphere.
“Happy New Year, Canberrans!”
Entry to the Dickson Lunar New Year celebration is free and the full program is available online.
Original Article published by Laura Liu on Riotact.