Page 409 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 14 February 2017

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to remember and celebrate their identity, language and culture, and also to enliven and enhance our broader community.

The Lunar New Year carries great cultural significance and is celebrated for a couple of reasons: to celebrate the preceding year of hard work by enjoying time with family; and to wish for a prosperous year ahead. In this way, celebration of Lunar New Year conveys the belief that a positive start to the year will bring good luck and good fortune.

While many families will already have marked the Lunar New Year this year, the wider Canberra community will be continuing the celebration, despite its official end over the weekend, at the upcoming Multicultural Festival. Traditional celebrations of Lunar New Year focused on celebrating the beginning of a new year of agricultural work to ensure a bountiful harvest. Today, this sentiment has been enlarged to encompass a celebration of the beginning of a new business year and to wish for success in work endeavours.

For members of Canberra’s Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Mongolian and Tibetan communities, Lunar New Year celebrations are often very similar to those enjoyed in other parts of the world. Family members may talk together about the positive events that have occurred during the past year. On new year’s day there is a warm exchange of happy greetings. Children and seniors may also receive a red envelope containing money to signify the important contribution of the elderly in looking after the young. Regardless of the setting, the theme of family and harmony remains the same, providing an opportunity for people to wish each other prosperity as they head into a new year.

In Canberra, observance of the Lunar New Year signifies a keen willingness to look ahead with a positive approach in order to embrace the promise of a fresh start that comes with a new year. It demonstrates the collective strength to be found in families everywhere—the bedrock that supports every person to participate fully in our vibrant community. Building these connections is the basis for a Canberra community in which difference is celebrated in a dynamic and authentic way. By participating in celebrations of Lunar New Year, we all become active participants in a city which grows stronger by embracing diversity.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to be part of this shared excitement in a continuing celebration of Lunar New Year at the Multicultural Festival. Under the umbrella of the Chinese village in Ainslie Avenue, a whole array of entertainment will be taking place over the three days. In fact, these formal proceedings will get underway a day earlier on Thursday with an opening concert at ANU’s Llewellyn Hall where the prestigious China national opera and dance theatre will be taking to the stage.

If you have not yet had a chance to look at the range of events taking place as part of the Chinese village then visit the website or download the app because it is extensive both in terms of scale and quality. It has everything from martial arts to acrobatics, Tai Chi, singing, puppet shows and, of course, lion dancing and dragon dance. The performers have come from within Canberra, interstate and overseas. Lunar New Year

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