The New Year period of the lunar calendar starts today, Friday, January 24, and is considered by many Asian cultures as a time for people to gather as families and reflect on positive times ahead.
Many staff, volunteers and clients of Settlement Services International will celebrate the Lunar, or Chinese, New Year over the next week.
The Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean cultures all follow a lunar calendar and celebrate similar new year cycles.
SSI volunteer Kathy Liu, who migrated from China two years ago, said it was traditional to visit friends and relatives over the New Year period.
“We visit friends and relatives, and usually we have a great party or do something with food,” she said.
“Last year, my son and I, we tried some traditional Chinese food and visited the party there (in George Street, Sydney).”
Another volunteer with SSI, Jenny Yau, said the New Year in China was very important for families as it was a time when children who moved away to work came home to see their parents and siblings.
“Usually in China, every family has celebrations. The children all come together at home,” she said.
“On the second and third days, maybe you visit friends and other relations.”
Jenny said her parents lived in China so she would celebrate with her family and friends in Chinatown.
“Usually we go to Chinatown to watch the shows and games,” she said.
“Also, every year there is the dancing and parade down George Street (Sydney).”
“And usually we buy, or sometimes we make, lots of dumplings – that’s traditional.”
This year, 2014, is considered the Year of the Horse on the Chinese Zodiac Calendar, which begins on January 31, and ends on February 18, 2015.
People born in the Year of the Horse are said to be clever, kind, animated and energetic. Some so-called experts will say they can talk too much, but they are widely perceived as cheerful, perceptive and talented. They are popular among friends, active at work and have a sharp sense of humour, according to Chinese astrology.
City of Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival will officially launch tonight in Belmore Park, Eddy Avenue, Sydney, with cooking and market stalls, traditional and contemporary dancers and a “sneak preview” of the Twilight Parade to be held February 2.
For a full list of Chinese New Year Festival events visit: http://www.sydneychinesenewyear.com/