2012 marks The Year of the Dragon so it is appropriate that 'Loong', who began parading in Bendigo in 1892, should join fellow dragon 'Yar Loong - the night dragon' for the much anticipated celebrations.
Presented by the Bendigo Chinese Association and the Bendigo Golden Dragon Museum, the event will contain, not only the parade but fireworks, Chinese food, martial arts demonstrations and performances by the Lion, Dragon and Plum Blossom dancers.
There'll be colour, sound and spectacle as people experience the loud beating of the drums, clanging cymbals, and the surprise when wheels of crackers explode in the streets.
8232;Since the days of the gold rush, the Chinese in Bendigo have always used dragon parades to fundraise for local health organisations. This year is no different with the Bendigo Health Foundation to benefit from the donations being given by honoured citizens of Bendigo, in exchange for the privilege of being able to carry Loong on the day.
8232; Loong is a heritage-listed museum artefact and one of the few remaining Imperial dragons in the world. He first appeared in Bendigo in 1892 and served the community for the next hundred and seventy years at its annual Easter Parade. Retired in 1970, Loong has only made one appearance since then, for the Golden Dragon Museum's 10 year anniversary. This 2012 outing is likely to be his last.
Given the rarity of Loong's outing, there are expected to be well over 2000 people waiting in the Dai Gum San forecourt to see him emerge. He will dance with his delicate, papier mache head piece bobbing, his mirrors and embroidered scales glistening to ward off any evil spirits and his silks fringes flapping in the wind.
For the Chinese in Bendigo, these celebrations are a way of participating in and preserving their heritage. It takes an enormous amount of volunteer work to restore and care for the dragons, teach and rehearse the dances and organise the events.
The Year of the Dragon celebrations will begin at 6:30pm on Saturday, January 28th, out the front of the Golden Dragon Museum in Bridge Street. It is a free event.