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Lions Roar in the City Heart !

By Tammy Laval

It may be the YEAR OF THE MONKEY, but the LION’S were ROARING to spur on the Chinese New Year celebrations in Mackay.

Did you know that the lion dance has been part of the Chinese culture for thousands of years and is performed on auspicious occasions such as weddings, store openings, and various festivals and celebrations. The lion, a symbol of power, wisdom, and good fortune, chases away evil spirits and brings hapiness, longevity, and good luck.  The lion dance is also performed at many business locations during the Chinese New Year’s Celebration for the lion to bring prosperity and good luck to the businesses in the upcoming year.

This year’s dancing lions surely delivered in the dance department !

Mackay City Centre celebrated ‘Summer in the City’ by delighting the senses – by the sights, smells and tastes of Asia on Saturday the 20th of February. And as per the last three years, the exciting Chinese New Year celebration were held at the Victoria Street Markets from 4pm to 8pm.

Free art and craft activities for children to thrilling performances by Chinese lion dancers, this four-hour festival was a feast for the senses.

Other activities on offer included: interactive Tai Chi sessions, traditional face-changing performances (dramatic dances featuring colourful costumes and masks) and a Sensory Circus fire show.

Economic Development manager Debra Howe said last year’s Chinese New Year celebration was supported by a crowd of more than 3000 people.

“Our recent Facebook promotion of this event, in one week alone, reached more than 14,000 people. With this sort of online support it’s possible our 2016 celebration will be even bigger,” she said.

“We’re also proud to announce that this year’s festival will feature authentic Asian performances and more children’s activities, including arts and crafts, Kevin the Magical Balloon Man and a Let the Children Play Kid Zone, complete with a roving puppeteer, jumping castle, face painting and lantern making.”

Ms Howe described the event as “a celebration of our region’s multiculturalism”.

“Mackay is proud to embrace its residents from around the world – in fact almost 800 residents became Australian citizens here last year,’’ she said.

“Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region is also honoured to share a Sister Region relationship with Yantai, China.

“Events like Chinese New Year are a wonderful opportunity for residents to celebrate and learn about our region’s many cultures”, and celebrate we did with this year’s event estimated with an attendence rate of 6,000 people in the Mackay City Heart!

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