Chinese communities around the globe are making preparations to celebrate and herald the arrival of the Year of the Ram (Goat).
During Chinese New Year, one of the traditions is for people to visit and greet each other with plenty of “Kung Hei Fat Choy” and by offering “Lai Si” (red packets) containing money to wish good luck and prosperity.
February is a great time to travel to Macau, where plenty of festive fun is planned to celebrate the 2015 Chinese New Year. Beginning on February 19, visitors can join in with the locals and take part in the many celebrations that include the traditional Golden Dragon parade and Lion Dance Performances, as well as two vibrant street parades featuring floats from around Asia. These parades are to be held on Saturday, February 21 and Saturday, February 28.
The Golden Dragon Parade, to be held on February 19, will begin at the iconic Ruins of St. Paul’s at 10am while the Lion Dance Performance will kick off from Senado Square at 11am on February 21, and from Tap Seac Square at 4.30pm the following day.
No celebration would be complete without the traditional fireworks, so on Saturday, February 21, a spectacular fireworks display will take place over the city, along with ten days of performances by more than 1000 artists.
Local Chinese, Portuguese and Macanese restaurants will be decorated to be a part of the fun filled festivities.
Helen Wong, General Manager of the Macau Government Tourist Office in Australia and New Zealand said “nclude a vibrant street parade on both February 21 and 28. To top that off, there will also be a giant fireworks display on February 21. And, as usual, prepare for a feast – Chinese, Portuguese and Macanese style. Now that’s food for thoughtIt is the most important and colourful Chinese festival of the year. A majority of the local population celebrate, where shops, offices, factories close for what is an exciting traditional holiday. Over ten days celebrations involve a huge number of events, including the traditional long dragon and lions dance on the streets. Crowds visit the temples, and there are countless lanterns and floral displays, not to forget the entertainment and fireworks.”
The grand outdoor and indoor events will be presented by the Macau Government Tourist Office and it will be the first time mainland China will include a float in the international processions.
The Lanterns Festival occurs on the 15th day of the first moon, where colourful lanterns are placed around the city. Small balls of glutinous rice are prepared as dessert, symbolising the “ribbon of friendship”, “family reunion” or “good luck” for the Chinese.
Coinciding with the Chinese New Year festivities is a unique Macau Christian religious celebration where an image of Christ carrying the Cross is taken in a procession from St Augustine’s Church to the Cathedral for an overnight vigil. It is then returned through the city accompanied by a magenta-robed escort.
Photos: John Pond