I'm a freelance writer living in Perth. Having 2 young kids with endless energy, we are always on the lookout for new outdoor activities.
Let's be honest, Perth's Chinatown is not really up there compared to other major cities in Australia like Sydney and Brisbane. I remember thinking to myself the first time I visited Chinatown in Northbridge a few years ago, "This couldn't be it, there must be somewhere else." Sadly, I found out that that was it. Things are looking up this year though with the first Chinese New Year street carnival ever to be held in Perth.
Perth welcomes the Year of the Dragon
On 23 January we are saying goodbye to the year of the Rabbit and hello to the Dragon. In contrast to European mythology where dragon is often considered evil, dragons in China symbolize good luck and powers over water/ rain. And water is a very important element to the traditional farming culture of China (Rain on Chinese New Year day is regarded as good luck). Dragon was also used as a symbol of Emperors of China. Therefore the year of the Dragon is a very auspicious year, so much so that there was a baby boom in China the last time we had the year of the Dragon (year 2000) and another baby boom is predicted for 2012.
With that background, I reckon it's auspicious for Perth to have this first of a kind event this time around. For fifteen days of Chinese New Year period from 23 January to 6 February, the streets around Chinatown will be decorated with Chinese-themed decorations and lanterns.
Dragon Dance at Northbridge Piazza
The main event that we'd want to look out for is the street celebration which will be held on Sunday 29 January from 12noon to 9pm. This will include a street procession, performances on James Street as well as on stage at the Northbridge Piazza, stalls offering Chinese food and cultural items, lion and dragon dancers, and screening of Chinese films. You could be sure to see and hear some martial arts, music, and dances. A note to Northbridge Saturday night revelers: James Street between William and Lake Streets will be closed from Saturday 28 January evening to prepare for this event.
This 2012 Perth Chinese New Year Fair is included under two umbrellas: one is the 2012 Fringe World Festival and the other is the Year of Chinese Culture in Australia 2011-2012. But for me, it doesn't matter which grouping it's included in. The important thing is that we actually have an opportunity to engage in this community celebration, experience something different, and have a wholesome family fun.