A Chinese New Year street celebration was held in the busy Preston commercial centre on 30 January, jointly organised by the Preston Business Advisory Committee, Darebin City Council and the Confucius Institute at La Trobe University. Thousands of people from the local community gathered to welcome the Lunar New Year and enjoyed spectacular performances contributed by local Chinese community groups.
A variety of entertainment was organised for the celebration. Key attractions included lion dancing by the Chinese Youth Society, a Taiji demonstration and Beijing Opera on high stilts. In addition to colourful stage performances, a dedicated children’s activity centre supplied the opportunity to engage with Chinese arts and crafts such as lantern making and Chinese calligraphy.
Many public revelers remarked on how fabulous it was to see this commitment and support for open and free access community events and looked forward to more festivals like this in future.
Preston Business Advisory Committee spokeswoman Penny Jamieson said the festival is expected to expand over the coming years to become a showcase for Indo-Chinese culture in Melbourne's north comparable to festivals in Box Hill in Melbourne’s east and Bendigo in regional Victoria.
Director of the Confucius Institute Professor Pei Likun said this was a great opportunity for the Institute to work with local government and organisations to promote Chinese culture.
“Chinese New Year is the most important festival for Chinese people. In the Chinese zodiac, 2014 is the Year of the Horse, a symbol of energy, intelligence, kind-heartedness and ability. I wish everyone achieves their goals with unremitting effort, as horses do”, said Professor Pei.
Cazaly Ward Councilor Bo Li also wished everyone a happy Year of the Horse and MC’d the event.