BENDIGO residents have gathered to welcome peace and prosperity in the coming year.
Community members celebrated the ancient Chinese Lantern Festival at the Joss House Temple on Sunday night.
The festival was the culmination of 15 days celebration of the Lunar New Year.
Lantern Festival celebrations included blessing of alters, traditional lion dances and plum blossom dances.
Joss House supervisor Darren Wright said the lanterns were traditionally meant to capture some of the moon's special energy, welcoming in good fortunate and prosperity for the coming year.
Mr Wright said the lanterns also symbolised light in the dark, positive and negative, balance and harmony.
The lanterns at the Joss House festivities were made by legions of local children.
"In essence basically you're driving away the negativity of the past year and welcoming the positivity of the new year," Mr Wright said.
"It is welcoming in good fortune and prosperity."
Mr Wright said it was important to observe customs like the Lantern Festival, because the Joss House was still an operational temple.
It was the oldest Chinese temple in Australia of traditional design, located where Bendigo's original China town stood, he said.
Mr Wright said most early Chinese immigrants did not expect to stay in Australia, building most temples out of canvas or timber, not longer-lasting brick.
He said the lantern festival was an old-world tradition that seemed to be not celebrated that much in Australia any more.
Mr Wright said many Bendigo residents today were descended from the Chinese people who came to the goldfields.
"It's very important we pay our respect to our forebears by celebrating some of the traditions of the past," he said.
"Bendigo had about 20 Chinese temples once, we are the only remainder.
"It's a very strong part of Bendigo's history because the Chinese were once a quarter of the population here."
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.