First day of Year of Rooster in Melbourne, a summery day spent with blue sky, sunscreen and ice teas. To join the celebration, I went to Crown by the side of Yarra River, an alternative Asian Chinese gathering precinct in the CBD other than laneways of Chinatown.
On the big screen outside of Crown, Serena Williams won Australian Open Women’s Single over her sister Venus Williams — A happy day for the Williams sisters, so does it seem for most of the Asian-looking people who spent endless time and money at the Casino tables inside Crown on that day, or at least at face value.
I got corrected at work a few days ago, for calling the New Year “Chinese New Year” rather than “Lunar New Year”, because apparently for Asian Chinese who do not come from China but also celebrate the New Year, they would prefer to use the word “Lunar”… It’s interesting to think about the connotation behind that — to downplay the “Chineseness” side of New Year.
The hustle and bustle of people at Crown’s riverside night market has a good resemblance of the New Year shopping crowd in China. Other celebration features include lion-dancing, fireworks, and display of the Zodiac Lanterns, which all attract a great deal of crowds and cameras.
Lunar Chinese New Year in Melbourne, a quick dose of Chinese culture accompanied by the colour of red, sound of drum from lion-dancing, and an influx of foreign wealth, largely fulfills people’s curiosity towards this traditional festival and brings deeper understanding or misunderstanding of the culture.