GALLERY: Chinese precinct comes to life

BENDIGO'S Dai Gum San Chinese Precinct is abuzz with activity.

A feast of entertainment was on offer on Saturday morning for the Chinese Spring Festival with the Awakening of the Dragon expected to draw huge crowds on Saturday afternoon.

Golden Dragon Museum education officer Tan See Tuang said the weekend was running smoothly.

"It's marvelous, fantastic," he said.

"It couldn't be better."

Performers took to the stage on Saturday morning for the Chinese Spring Festival with marital arts and lion dancing on show.

"You might be wondering why we have the spring festival when it's autumn here but it's actually spring in China," Mr Tan said.

"So we're actually doing the Chinese Spring Festival here to coincide with our Easter Festival."

Between 3000 and 4000 people are expected to visit the Dai Gum San Chinese Precinct on Saturday afternoon from 2pm to 3.30pm for the Awakening of the Dragon.

"We'll have a big screen so people can see from far back but obviously the closer to the arena, the more you'll feel the atmosphere," Mr Tan said.

"Why do we awaken the dragon?

"The Awakening of the Dragon is fairly unique to Bendigo.

"We've been doing the Awakening of the Dragon ceremony since Sun Loong arrived in 1982.

"The reason we awaken the dragon is actually a play on the word for Chinese dragon and the word deaf ... Chinese have a very good sense of humour ... The Chinese word for being deaf is the dragon over the ear so we say the dragon is deaf or hard of hearing.

"So he needs a lot of noise to wake up, especially after a long slumber since last Easter.

"We had a private blessing ceremony of the dragon last Sunday night and then at the Awakening of the Dragon we make heaps of noise with drums and dancing and fire crackers.

"If he's not awake by then we have trouble.

"We have done this for a long time."

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