Today is the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar year, with Chinese communities welcoming the new year around the world at midnight last night.
In the 12-year cycle, this year is the year of the horse, while last was the year of the snake. According to a report by the ABC, Hudson Chen from the Australian Chinese Charity Foundation called the year of the horse a romantic time. Mr Chen also said that people born in the year of the horse have healthy characteristics, but can be stubborn. Previous years of the horse include 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990 and 2002.
The new year festival is celebrated with gusto in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, along with countries with a significant Chinese population, including Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Crackers and fireworks are popular, creating noise to ward off evil spirits, while red envelopes containing gifts of money are exchanged between family members.
Chinatowns in Melbourne and Sydney will come alive today and across the weekend with lanterns, market stalls, shopping opportunities, delicious banquets and cultural displays. Melbourne will host a 100-metre long dragon in Docklands, while Chinatown will have other cultural displays, and Southbank will host its normal food and craft stalls. Sydney meanwhile will host a two-week festival featuring dragon boat races, and lion dances, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
The small Chinese community in Lahore is expected to celebrate the lunar new year with private parties or in Chinese restaurants, while in Chennai, Chinese restaurants are predicting a busy day with the city’s large number of Chinese expatriate workers.
For more information about Melbourne and Sydney events, go to ChineseNewYear.com.au. All are welcome to attend and join in the festivities.
UrbanDuniya wishes all our Chinese readers, and anyone else celebrating, a happy, joyous and prosperous new year. 恭喜发财!!