Chinese New Year

Welcoming the year of the tiger. Every year I’d be home and grandma would be bustling about, cooking and stringing red packets up. There would be new budding willow branches in the big vase, a platter-ful of sweets and biscuits on the table and new clothes to wriggle into. We’ll have a big dinner on the first day and wait for the extended family to come the next, everyone wishing each other gong xi fa cai and the young folks eagerly receiving ang paus (red packets filled with money). 
This year however I’m in Melbourne, far from home and family. The festivities here started early with firecrackers going pop pop pop! On the 14th the road to Chinatown was blocked off and stalls rose up so I went with a friend to see how Australia celebrates CNY. Unfortunately there were mostly adverts everywhere, and real estate agents, an extremely overpriced gelati truck and an awesome exhibition of bamboo skin and syrup artists. 

Very pretty decorations!

mmm…gelati. Rather unsatisfying =( 

A dragon dance workshop. The little kids were so cute and enthusiastic! So were the adults actually 😉

A syrup painting master, creating a butterfly. 

Completed syrup art. Looks very yummy. 
Around the city there were several lion dances visiting local businesses, bestowing good luck and good fortune to the happy drum beat and clashing cymbals. A man in a mask is often seen jumping around with a round fan, he leads the ‘tiger’ and conjoles it. There is always a cabbage and a paper scroll hung high, so the tiger leaps up and devours both, then reveals the scroll with good luck writing before the firecrackers go off in loud bangs!
A golden lion preparing to eat the cabbage. It succeeds!

This red lion retreats from the explosive crackers. See its closed eyes?

Off it goes finding a new place to bestow good luck!

A bold black and gold lion.
The tricky man leads the lion. 
The players of the lion are often very strong, it takes alot of energy and martial art skills to leap and show off the great lion! At other places the lion would often jump from pole to pole, wowing the crowds!
Taking a gentle bow. 
Chinese New Year is a time of families and friends. It is accompanied with delicious food and bright colours and lots of noises calling for happiness. Gong xi fa cai, may your year be filled with good cheer and good health and good fortune.

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