Cultural Perspectives were invited to the grand opening of the Chinese Lantern Festival 2018 last Friday in celebration of the year of the dog at the Tumbalong Park, Sydney Darling Harbour.
Originating from Han Dynasty, the Chinese lantern tradition symbolises family reunion, luck and brings good fortune into the New Year. It has become a signature event of the Chinese New Year celebration.
In its fourth year, the Chinese Lantern Festival 2018 is even bigger and more creative. Prominent Australian and Chinese guests lined up on stage poised and many of the visitors and guests providing a countdown for the cutting of the ribbon and the lighting up of the lanterns in various dog designs. The lighting of the lanterns brightened up Darling Harbour, and was a symbolic ringing in of the New Year and gesturing the end of the Chinese New Year. The lighting ceremony was followed by an amazing performance featuring 12 delegates from Shalin Monastry who showcased the most authentic, world renowned Shaolin Martial Arts. Over 50 stalls and 40 non-stop performances at five stages added more fun to the festival over the weekend.
This fantastic event was a great opportunity to learn about the Chinese culture, and a great treat for the increasingly growing Chinese community in Australia. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull honoured the festival in a short statement featured in the event brochure emphasising the contribution that festivals such as this one makes to the great diversity of Australians. With Harmony Day fast approaching, the Chinese Lantern Festival made a good start to cross cultural festivities.