ALL of Bendigo’s processional dragons, including original dragon Loong, will parade together for the first time in the city’s history at next year’s Easter Festival.
Women will also be permitted to help carry new dragon Dai Gum Loong – traditionally a male-only role.
Details of the historic 2019 Easter Festival were published on the Golden Dragon Museum website this morning, and the city will require at least 320 carriers, including reserves.
The information mentioned Dai Gum Loong – a male dragon like Loong and Sun Loong – would require 65 female and male carriers.
He will be 120 metres long, taking the title of the world’s longest imperial dragon from his 100-metre predecessor Sun Loong.
Golden Dragon Museum chair Doug Lougoon said they were hopeful of receiving heritage approval to parade Loong, who would walk from the museum to the fountain where he would greet Dai Gum Loong.
“At a recent meeting of the Chinese Association, we made a commitment to do everything in our power to maximise the number of dragons that will be parading, including Loong,” he said.
“We don’t have Heritage Victoria approval yet. It will be subject to an assessment of Loong’s condition.”
The decision to allow female carriers for Dai Gum Loong was an opportunity to create a new tradition, Mr Lougoon said.
“Obviously living in 2018, the Bendigo Chinese Association recognises that we should be providing equal opportunities, and this is an opportunity for a new tradition to be made,” he said.”
Loong, who made his first appearance in 1901, was placed on the Victorian heritage register in 2007 and has been on display at the Golden Dragon Museum. His parading next year will be subject to Heritage Victoria approval.
Sun Loong will parade for the final time in 2019 and is currently being restored.
Golden Dragon Museum staff are monitoring the construction of Dai Gum Loong in Hong Kong, and he is expected to arrive in Bendigo in March – one month before the Easter Festival.
The project also involves the complete restoration of Sun Loong.
In total, the dragons Loong, Sun Loong, Dai Gum Loong, Yar Loong, Gansu Loong, Ming Loong, Ping Loong, Siu Lock Loong, Choi Loong and Gwong Long will parade at the festival.
Golden Dragon Museum general manager Anita Jack said it will be a historic moment for Bendigo.
“I am so excited for Dai Gum Loong’s arrival and we thought there was no better way to welcome him than to plan this incredible celebration. It will be one of the best street parties Bendigo has ever seen,” she said.
“To help make this moment memorable, we will needs lots of volunteers to bring our dragons to life. It will be a fun and rewarding job, but it will require an element of cardio fitness.”
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