Fireworks to ward off ‘Year’

By Liz Mellino

Greater Shepparton residents can enjoy the authentic taste of Chinese food, vibrant culture and traditional performances at this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations.

Supported by the Victorian Multicultural Commission and Greater Shepparton City Council, Goulburn Valley Chinese Association will host the festival on Sunday, February 17, marking one of the biggest events on the Chinese calender.

GVCA president Evie Teo said the celebration was an important occasion for the association and its members.

‘‘The celebration will begin at noon with an official opening with the Bendigo Lion Team performing, along with fireworks and loud music,’’ she said.

‘‘The festival will showcase numerous dance performances, calligraphy and tai chi demonstrations, presentation of awards for best Chinese costumes worn on the day and for colouring competitions revolving around the Year of the Pig.’’

According to legend, Chinese New Year started with a fight against the mythical beast called the ‘‘Year’’, which looked like an ox with the head of a lion and believed to inhabit the sea.

On New Year’s Eve, the Year would come out to harm animals, people and their properties.

‘‘Fireworks are used to drive away the evil in China ... right after midnight on New Year’s Eve fireworks will be launched to celebrate the coming of the new year as well as to drive away the evil,’’ Ms Teo said.

‘‘It is believed that the person who launched the first firework of the new year will obtain good luck.’’

This year’s festival marks the start of the Year of the Pig in the Chinese Zodiac, which is the 12th of the 12-year cycle of animals related to the Chinese calendar.

GVCA vice-president Evelyn Anderson encouraged everyone to come along for an afternoon of traditional culture and family entertainment.

‘‘Everybody is welcome to attend, there is no entry charge, but people are encouraged to arrive by noon to see the spectacular lion dance at the opening,’’ she said.

‘‘The lion dancers will perform again later in the day but without the fireworks.’’

This year’s Chinese New Year celebration is on Sunday, February 17, at Sir Ian McLennan hall, Mooroopna, from noon to 4pm. For information, phone Ms Teo on 0422089939 or visit www.gvchinese.org.au