In 2020, Chinese New Year falls on Saturday 25 January 2020. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2020 is the year of the Rat, the first animal on the 12-year animal zodiac cycle. One Chinese folktale stated that the Jade Emperor needed 12 animals to guard his palace. The Ox was the first in line but the Rat climbed on its back and jumped ahead of it. Next in line was the Tiger. After some tussles, the order of all but the last animal was settled to be Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster and Dog. The Pig arrived after everything was settled so it was the 12th animal on the zodiac.
Celebration of the festival starts on Chinese New Year Eve, Friday 24 January, when family members gather together for reunion dinners. Traditionally, the celebration then continues for fifteen days. In present days, Chinese New Year celebrations are focused on the eve and the first two days because those are the days declared as public holidays in most Asian countries.
(Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Lion Dance is a form of traditional Chinese dance in which performers mimic a lion's movements in a colourful lion costume. Each 'lion' is handled by two dancers. This dance is performed during Chinese New Year and other traditional, cultural and religious festivals. During Chinese New Year, lion dance troupes are invited to visit houses and shops of the Chinese community to perform 'cai qing' (plucking the greens), where the lion plucks auspicious green vegetables like lettuce hung on a pole or placed on a table. This dance is believed to bring good luck and fortune to the owners. The greens are tied together with a 'hong bao' (red envelope containing money). The 'lion' will 'eat the greens' and 'spit' it out during the dance, keeping the 'hong bao' which is the reward for the dance troupe. Some spectators will also give 'hong baos' to the 'lion' as it dances among them.
In Adelaide, some Chinese restaurants offer special banquet menus and invite lion dance troupes to perform at their restaurants during the Chinese New Year celebration period. These restaurants are very busy during this period so it is advisable to book a table if you wish to dine there and watch the lion dances.
Below is a schedule of lion dances at some of the restaurants:
Saturday 25 January lunch time - Star House Restaurant
Saturday 25 January dinner time - Ba Guo Bu Yi Chinese Restaurant, Cheung Long House Chinese Restaurant, Ding Hao Restaurant, East Taste Cafe, Kingdom Chinese Restaurant, Ky Chow Restaurant, Red Chilli Chinese Restaurant, Star House Restaurant, T Chow Restaurant
Sunday 26 January dinner time - Cheung Long House Chinese Restaurant, Ding Hao Restaurant, Kingdom Chinese Restaurant, T Chow Restaurant
Monday 27 January dinner time - Kingdom Chinese Restaurant
Wednesday 29 January dinner time - Ba Guo Bu Yi Chinese Restaurant