LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS
Mr GUY ZANGARI
(Fairfield) [7.05 p.m.]: Over the past few weeks the Lunar New Year has been celebrated throughout the country. The proud Chinese and Vietnamese communities have each contributed tremendously to the nation economically, culturally and spiritually. The Vietnamese and Chinese communities play an important role in the Fairfield electorate. The Lunar New Year celebrations are now part of the Australian landscape and are participated in widely by non-Chinese and non-Vietnamese people. As one can imagine, there has been much to celebrate with the Year of the Dragon. For both the Vietnamese and Chinese cultures the Lunar New Year brings a fresh start to the year ahead, farewelling the past and welcoming in a New Year with all the blessings of good fortune that the new moon is bound to provide. The year 2012 is the Year of the Dragon.
The dragon is one of the most powerful and lucky signs in the lunar calendar. The dragon is the only mythological creature in the Chinese and Vietnamese zodiacs. The dragon signifies luck, strength, nobility, royalty, wisdom and a promising future. It is hoped that the year 2012 will bring people fortune, promotion, wealth, health properties, good marriages and new children. Many believe there is a balance between heaven and earth in the lives of people born in the Year of the Dragon. As well as being blessed with good fortune, dragons are known to be innovative, flexible, self-assured and passionate, good artists, diplomats and politicians. Dragons also can be stubborn, intense and quick-tempered. The dragon also has pride of place on Chinese dragon boats. Traditional dragon boat races are an integral part of the Lunar New Year celebrations. Legend has it that the dragon boats would race on the rivers of southern central China during rituals relating to fertility, which would ensure plentiful rain.
The year 2012 is particularly significant because it also is the year of the water dragon. The water dragon possesses mighty powers, ruling the rivers, bays, creeks and seas. The celestial dragon dominates the clouds and rainmaking—hence the possible explanation for the downpour this summer in New South Wales. I acknowledge the following groups in Fairfield for bringing alive the colour and excitement during the Lunar New Year. The Vietnamese Australian Mutual Support Association of New South Wales hosted the New Year lunch on 7 January at the Vine Street meeting rooms. Special thanks go to Mr Sang, Mr Khien and Mr Kim. I acknowledge the Chinese Association of Western Sydney for hosting the Australia Day and Chinese New Year celebration on 26 January at the Villa Capri. Particular thanks to Mr Hung Ly, Mr David Tran, Mr James Chan, Mr Michael Chan, and Mr Pho Quang Hang. This celebration was well attended, with plenty of music, dance and food. The Vietnamese Tet festival was held on 28 January at the Fairfield Showground. The three-day festival has now become a major highlight on the Fairfield New Year calendar. The festival epitomises the vibrancy and story of the Vietnamese community in New South Wales. There was a large crowd present over the three-day-long celebration. Congratulations to Mr Thanh Nguyen and the Vietnamese Community in Australia, New South Wales chapter, for organising yet another successful Tet festival.
The Cabramatta Lunar New Year Festival was held on 29 January at Cabramatta's Freedom Plaza. The event was hosted by the Chinese Associations of Western Sydney. It was marked by traditional Buddhist prayers, the distribution of longevity buns, lucky envelopes, firecrackers and lion and dragon dancing. Finally, on 4 February, the New South Wales Indo-China Chinese Association of New South Wales and the Tien Hau Temple Inc organised the senior's Chinese New Year luncheon, a special event organised to show respect to the elderly of the community whilst celebrating longevity for the Year of the Dragon. Many thanks to Mr To Ha Huynh and his committee for running two luncheons—one on Saturday 4 February and the other on Sunday 5 February. In conclusion, I extend best wishes to all for a prosperous 2012. May the luck of the dragon be with us all throughout the year.