Starting the New Year with a Bang
This New Chinese New Years Eve, like every other year, we went to the Yiu Ming Temple in Alexandria, Sydney. This heritage listed temple dates back to the 1870’s and is a ‘village-temple’, having not only local but also international significance. My family attends the Yiu Ming Temple because my parents-in-law are members of the Yiu Ming Society, one of the oldest and largest Chinese Societies in Sydney, which originated in Guangdong (Canton) province in China.
Attending the temple is one of the hallmarks of my family’s Chinese New Year celebrations. At midnight there is a string of firecrackers that is lit to mark the beginning of the new year. We then celebrate with the noisy and lively Chinese New Year fixture – the lion dance. Having a lion dance, and presenting the lion with red envelopes filled with money, is said to scare away evil spirits and bring the audience luck for the rest of the year.
Every year, my husband Rob and my father-in-law participate in the Lion Dance. Rob is the lion head, he collects the lettuce and ‘spits’ it out onto the audience, whilst also playfully interacting with them. My father-in-law, on the other hand, is a supporting cast in the dance. He is the drummer, important in directing the action and also for portraying the lion’s heartbeat.
I personally love keeping our Chinese traditions alive in my family and hope that my girls will remember these moments fondly. What traditions do your family keep alive? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!