Happy Chinese New Year, that is, or as some prefer to call it, the Lunar New Year.
I grew up with it being called Chinese New Year even though I know some other cultures have different names for it. But there has been a tradition of celebration and a dragon parade here dating back to the 19th century, starting in the Gold Rush towns, where there were large Chinese populations. (Photo by Sahil Pandita on Unsplash
In the state of Victoria, where I live, there was a very impressive Chinese procession in the town of Beechworth in 1874 — you can see the engraving here (scroll down).
And the city of Ballarat has one of the oldest surviving Chinese Dragons around. It was purchased in 1897, and paraded each year until the 1960’s, when it was retired to a museum and a new dragon purchased. If you want to know more about the history of the celebration in Australia, there’s a good article here.
There’s always a big celebration in Melbourne for the Lunar New Year. When I was in high school, my friends and I often used to meet up at a Chinese restaurant in central Melbourne’s “Chinatown” to celebrate several friends’ end of January/early February birthdays. A couple of times the dragon entered the restaurant and cavorted around our table, much to our delight. And when my parents lived in Malaysia, I was lucky enough to be there for Chinese New Year and be part of a big, noisy, exuberant fun celebration.
I have another, quite personal reason for celebrating Chinese New Year — two years ago, I bought my new house on Chinese New Year, 2022, and it had been the luckiest purchase for me. Ever since, I have displayed a Chinese good luck token hanging on the front door, which is painted red (though not by me) a lucky color, )
I have more tokens hanging in the entrance. And as you can see from this photo of my living room, I am partial to a bit of color. I even had my old brown lounge suite recovered in red, though not for lucky Chinese reasons. Everything in the house was beige, light brown and pale grey where I bought it, and though I know that’s probably fashionable, I like some color. I debated with a friend about a teal blue covering for the lounge suite, and this red, and though I loved the teal, we decided that the red would go with my rugs better. The bright cover on the couch is a length of fabric I’ve had forever, and I love it. The cushions I also had before I moved.
That’s Milly, in her favorite position, keeping watch out of the back door, in case a bird or a cat decide to attack me.
There was so much I want to say about Chinese New Year that I think I’ll blog about it on the Word Wenches on Monday. So I hope you forgive me if there’s a bit of repetition.