Lunar New Year falls on Monday and marks the beginning of the Year of the Monkey. Also called Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, the holiday is steeped in layers of myths and traditions. It is celebrated in many countries throughout Asia, including Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, and in other parts of the world where people with Asian heritage have settled. It is a time for families to come together to eat good food and participate in cultural traditions.
The date for Lunar New Year depends on the lunisolar calendar, which charts time based on the movements of both the moon and the sun. On the Gregorian calendar, the holiday will generally fall between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20. The festival reportedly traces its origins to the Shang Dynasty (between 1600 BC and 1100 BC), when people offered sacrifices to gods and ancestors to mark the end of an old year and the beginning of a new year. A legendary wild beast named Nien (or "year") was thought to attack people at the end of the old year. Villagers would use loud noises and bright lights to scare the creature away, a practice that slowly morphed into the Lunar New Year festivities.
How the Years got their Names:
While the Western zodiac system is divided into 12 months, the Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 years. Each year is associated with an animal: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. People are said to be influenced by the personality of the animal that rules their birth year. There are a number of legends that tell the story of how the years were ordered. In one legend, Buddha called all the animals of the world to him before he left the earth. The only ones that listened were these 12 animals, so Buddha named a year after each of them in the order that they arrived.
This is the Year of the Monkey, the ninth animal in the cycle. The monkey features prominently in many ancient Chinese legends. People born in the Year of the Monkey are said to be intelligent, clever, and gregarious, but also mischievous. They are skilled and smart, but shortcomings, like a quick temper and a touch of arrogance, tend to hold them back.
Celebration in Shepparton
Chinese New Year will be celebrated in Shepparton on Sunday 21 February 2016 at Monash Park (behind the Senior Citizens Centre). The Lion Dancers from Bendigo will attend and give a presentation at 11:30am, followed by lunch at the Shepparton Family Restaurant. This celebration is presented by the newly formed Goulburn Valley Chinese Association.
- WHAT: Chinese New Year Celebrations
- WHERE: Chinese Gardens, Monash Park, Shepparton (behind the Senior Citizens Centre)
- WHEN: Sunday 21 February 11:30AM
- PROGRAM: Bendigo Chinese Association Lion Dancers, Presentation, followed by lunch
- COST: Lion Dance is free to attend, meal at the Shepparton Family Resturant costs given in the flyer below.
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