2019 heralds in the very auspicious New Year of the Pig. Simply put, the Chinese calendar is a repeating cycle of 12 years, with each year represented by a different animal. The Year of the Pig begins on February 5, 2019 and ends on January 25, 2020.
The pig represents wealth and generosity. So 2019 promises to be a very good year for us all! Here are nine ways you can celebrate Chinese New Year in Canberra with your family and friends.
1. Enjoy the Chinese New Year showcase at the National Multicultural Festival. Canberra's National Multicultural festival returns this year on February 15, 16 and 17, and there will be very special performances to celebrate the Year of the Pig, including lion dances and a special Chinese New Year concert on Friday, February 15 from 5.30pm. For the full program of events at the National Multicultural Festival, go here.
2. Watch the Lion Dance at Weston Asian Grocery. Weston Asian Grocery at 8/21 Brierly Street, Weston will celebrate the Year of the Pig with a Lion Dance on Sunday February 10 at 12pm. And why not stock up on Chinese New Year treats and goodies while you are there?
4. Celebrate the Lantern Festival at the Beijing Garden. The Australia China Friendship Society ACT will once again be hosting the Lantern Festival, a festival that brings the Chinese New Year celebration to its peak. Held within the beautiful surrounds of the Beijing Garden, Flynn Drive, Yarralumla, there will be music and other entertainment, a homemade lantern competition, and a lantern parade. Bring your own picnic and enjoy the colour and spectacle in the Beijing Garden. This is a free event. Taking place on Saturday February 23 from 6.15pm-8.30pm.
5. Celebrate the Year of the Pig at the Sakyamuni Buddhist Centre, Lyneham. Come along to this beautiful annual community and family festival to celebrate the new lunar year! Held on Monday February 4 from 6pm till late. There will be gourmet vegetarian food stalls, a courtesy annual vegetarian dinner, lion dances, cultural performances, new year gifts for all guests, prayers for everyone's ancestors, and a blessing speech by Abbot Thich Quang Ba. The Sakyamuni Buddhist Centre is located at 32 Archibald Street, Lyneham.
6. See more Lion Dances at Westfield Woden and Belconnen. If you can't get enough of lion dances, then head on over to Westfield Woden and Belconnen for more. At Westfield Belconnen on February 9, 12pm. Beginning at Lathlain Street and ending at Centre Court. And at Westfield Woden on February 16, 12pm. The lion dancers will be going through Corinna Street and then on to the fresh food area.
7. Decorate your home.
It's a tradition during Chinese New Year to decorate your house with red paper (red being a lucky colour) with couplets written on them proclaiming popular New Year themes such as happiness, prosperity and longevity. Why not cut out strips of red paper and decorate them with messages such as 'Gung hay fat choy', 'Happy New Year!', 'Long life' and 'Happiness' then hang them around your house?
If you don't want to make your own decorations, you can buy special Chinese New Year decorations at Asian food stores such as the Weston Asian Grocery. Chinese New year decorations are also available at The Reject Shop.
8. Get the kids celebrating the lunar new year.
There are many ways for your kids to get into the Chinese New Year spirit! They can write their own good luck messages on red strips of paper and make paper Chinese lanterns and paper dragons (go here for some great craft ideas). You can also treat the kids to fortune cookies (you can buy boxes of these at Coles) as well as follow the traditional Chinese New Year tradition of handing out lucky red envelopes to your kids. The red envelopes are usually filled with money. Get some red envelopes and fill them with real money or chocolate gold coins for fun!
9. Eat Chinese food!
Cook Chinese food or go and support your local Chinese restaurant and enjoy a Chinese feast to celebrate the Year of the Pig.
May the Year of the Pig be a happy, lucky and prosperous one for you and your loved ones!