BENDIGO's Chinese community will come together on Saturday to ring in the Lunar New Year.
The event will celebrate the Year of the Rat, which Golden Dragon Museum chair Doug Lougoon said signified wealth, new beginnings, and resurgence.
"The rat is the first animal of the Chinese zodiac cycle," Mr Lougoon said. "But it doesn't matter what animal you were born under, it should be a good year for everyone."
The Lunar New Year, which starts with the first new moon of the year, has become a feature in Greater Bendigo, with the city's strong connection to China dating back to the Gold Rush of the 1850s.
Mr Lougoon said there were about 4000 Chinese miners on the Bendigo goldfields at one point.
The Chinese migrants' cultural and financial contributions have shaped Bendigo into the regional centre it is today, he said.
"They have always helped with raising funds, in particular for the Bendigo Health group," Mr Lougoon said. "They helped build Bendigo's first hospital back in the 1850s.
"There is also obviously the Bendigo Easter Fair, where the involvement of the Chinese in the community has been long-standing for the past 150 years."
The Lunar New Year is traditionally celebrated across east and south-east Asia with special lanterns, lion dances, and a plethora of treats.
Mr Lougoon said Bendigo would continue those traditions this year.
"What you will see is an extension of Chinese cultural performance that has been done at the Easter Fair over the years," he said.
"In more recent decades, we have had stand-alone events for the Lunar New Year. It's a great time for family gathering.
"It was also a more private event, but all around the world it's now becoming more and more spectacular.
"Australia in particular is a very multicultural country. There is a lot of interest from other cultures and that is something we are proud to continue."
The Bendigo Chinese Association will be hosting the free Lunar New Year celebration at the Dai Gum San precinct from 7pm on Saturday.
There will be performances from the flying dragon Fei Loong, the BCA Plum Blossom Dancing Team, and the BCA Lion Team. There will also be plenty of hot food and refreshments on offer.
"We look forward to lots of people coming down," Mr Lougoon said. "With the bushfire crisis, we're also hoping to raise $888 for the Victorian bushfire appeal. Eight is the perfect number in China."
There will also be Lunar New Year celebrations at Hargreaves Mall in Bendigo on February 7, hosted by the Central Victorian Lion Team.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.