Blossoms and lions ring in the horse year

GALLERY: Chinese New Year

NEWS: Chinese dancers enchant crowd

RED, green, pink and yellow dancers wowed spectators at yesterday’s Chinese Lantern Festival.

 In near perfect weather, about 70 attended the Bendigo Joss House Temple to be entranced by the traditional lion dancing, fan dancing and plum blossom dancing  for the Chinese New Year.

There was just enough breeze to riffle the lions’ “fur” and make the tree lanterns, made by the Bendigo Early Learning Centre, swing.

Children recoiled half-delighted, half-terrified from the glaring cloth eyes of the Bendigo Chinese Association lion dancers, who pounced and leaned in to peer at them.

In a stentorian tone, Bendigo Joss House Temple supervisor Darren Wright announced the fortunes they could expect in the Year of the Wood Horse.

“This year will be expansive and exuberant!” he said exuberantly.

“It rewards honest opinions and disciplined thinking."

"It’s a fabulous year for travel, parties and community events.”

After the ceremony of food offerings to the gods, dancing, drumming and incense burning, visitors were invited to take Chinese tea, tour the Joss House Temple and offered fortune cookies.

Bendigo’s festival was growing in popularity, Mr Wright said.

“People are fascinated by the Chinese tradition which is so much a part of Bendigo’s history.

"Back in the 1850s one-quarter of Bendigo’s population was Chinese.”

See picture gallery online.

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