Kung Hei Fat Choi!

by Rebecca Lee

Our very own Eastwood is home to one of Sydney’s biggest Chinese and Korean communities, so with Chinese New Year on its way- here is what you can expect!

2016 is the Year of the Monkey. The Monkey is the 9th sign of the Chinese Zodiac and there are 5 different Monkeys, which rotate throughout the years. The Fire or Red Monkey will be making its first return since 1956. Fire Monkeys are witty, intelligent, mischievous and curious. They are creative, very playful and love a good practical joke. Lucky Numbers are 4 and 9, and colours blue, gold and white.

The centre of Chinese New Year is the Reunion Dinner, held on New Year’s Eve. It’s a chance for generations of families to reunite around tables and enjoy the food and time together. The menu will almost always include fish, dumplings, spring rolls and longevity noodles. These are longer than regular noodles- but don’t cut them! As superstition goes that this will shorten your life.

Red Envelopes or Packets with money inside known as Hongbao are gifted to children and seniors. These are generally available from your local newsagent or bank. Street celebrations often include a traditional lion dance, which is thought to bring good luck. They dance to a drum, cymbals and a gong. On the head of the lion is mirror so that evil spirits will be frightened away by their own reflections. As the lion runs along the streets he begins to visit different places. On his way he meets another person, the ‘Laughing Buddha’ who is dressed in monk’s robes and a mask. He teases the lion with a fan made of banana-leaves, which makes the lion jump around. As the lion moves from place to place he looks for some green vegetables such as lettuce, which are hung above the doors of houses or businesses. Hidden in the leaves is a Hungbao which the lion eats along with the lettuce. He then scatters lettuce leaves to symbolize a fresh start for the New Year and the spreading of good luck.

The City of Ryde’s celebrations kick off with a Cooking Competition in Eastwood Plaza on 13th Feb and the Grand Celebration complete with food, fireworks, music, dance and of course- the iconic dancing lions on 20th Feb 2016.

All the details can be found here: http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Events/Ryde-Lunar-New-Year-Celebrations

The Chinese Cultural Centre of NSW, in conjunction with Willoughby Council will also be hosting a family fun day on 13th Feb. Performances, market stalls, entertainment and food can be found in Chatswood Mall and the Concourse from 11am- 5pm.

Chinese New Year is a huge deal for the City of Sydney, and loads of events are planned from 6th- 20th February.

Our picks for top family fun include:

  • Kids at the ARThouse: 6th- 21st Feb Whimsical display and kid focused activities in the Chinese Garden of Friendship, 9:30am- 5:30pm daily, Gold Coin Donation during the Festival time

  • Row Row Regattas family fun day: 14th Feb: Enjoy lion dance performances, storytelling, crafts, regatta games and displays on the dragon boat. Australian National Maritime Museum Adult: $7 Child: $8.50, Museum members and big ticket holders: Free

Full listing: https://whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/major-events/chinese-new-year-festival

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