Chinese New Year – The Year of the Dog! 狗年大吉
Millions of people from all corners of the globe have kicked off the celebrations for Chinese New Year in 2018 – the year of the dog! This is an exciting time at Go West, with many locals joining us on tour as part of their celebrations and time in Australia. While many are excited about the new year, others are less so, as those who are ‘dogs’ are in for a year of bad luck. In this article we cover what it means to celebrate Chinese New Year, as well as what you can expect when celebrating in Melbourne.
What is Chinese New Year?
In China, the New Year doesn’t commence on the 1st of January, but on the second new moon of the next year. Their celebrations last for 15 days, ending on a full moon. Locals often celebrate by visiting family and friends, giving special meals and gifts, and of course, fireworks! In modern China, working professionals will normally have 7 days of holiday including the weekend to celebrate. After the family reunion, some modern Chinese families may take the chance to visit tourist destinations.
According to legends, the Chinese started to fight a mythical beast called “Year”. The “Year” looks like an ox with a lion head who lives in the sea, coming out on the night of the old year to harm people, properties and animals. Later, people found that the “Year” fears the colour red, fire, and loud sounds. Therefore, for self-protection, people formed the habit of painting the front of their house, as well as launching fireworks and hanging lanterns at year end. Some other traditions during the New year festival include cleaning the house, shopping, putting up the spring couplets and of course the family dinner. They have two evenings where they let off fireworks, with the first being in the old year, and the finale on the fifteenth day.
Chinese New Year in Melbourne
Melbourne has a lot to offer during Chinese New Year, with an array of markets in the CBD where you can experience the Chinese culture. You’ll find everything from food, hand crafts, cooking demonstrations, drumming, tai chi, and traditional dance.
Melbourne’s CBD will be transformed for an entire week whilst the new year celebrations take place! If your around the South bank area, be sure to head to Crown casino, where you will find a painted fire-breathing Chinese feature. The DFO South Warf has competitions, giveaways and traditional Chinese entertainment. For the kids, SEA LIFE aquarium offers an underwater dragon dance for you to see and all three of Melbourne’s zoos will have special themed activities. Last but not least, federation square will host a massive countdown on New Years Eve. Together with the count down you will able to watch traditional dancers and Chinese cinema on the open air screen.
To find out more, visit the official Chinese New Year (Melbourne) website!