newsCO.com.au–Lunar New Year celebrations a timely reminder of Chinese contribution to Australia

February 15, 2018

A lantern at the Opera House marks the start of the Year of the Dog.

A lantern at the Opera House marks the start of the Year of the Dog.

Photo: Wolter Peeters

As Lunar New Year celebrations kick off today, my family and I join billions of people in China, Asia and around the world in welcoming the Year of the Dog. Like many others, Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is a special time for me because it is a time for family, honouring my ancestors, reflecting on the year that has passed and ringing in the New Year.

Lunar New Year traditions date back to the very beginning of Chinese civilisation. They have survived successive imperial dynasties and political turmoil. For many Chinese and Asian communities living overseas, Lunar New Year is an opportunity to reconnect with their cultural heritage.

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If one hopes for good fortune, health, luck and prosperity, one must follow a list of rituals during the two-week New Year period. Our family began our celebrations on Tuesday (the 28th day of the last month on the lunar calendar). Known as the “day of cleaning”, we swept away dust and threw away things that are no longer needed around the house.

Next was the reunion dinner, which took place last night, on Lunar New Year’s Eve. While I just needed to travel a few suburbs to eat with my family, the Lunar New Year celebrations trigger a mammoth migration in China as the Chinese return home for this meal. According to China’s media, the Chinese are expected to make nearly 3 billion trips across the country between February and March.

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