Dragons fire up Lunar New Year

February 9, 2024 BY

Lucky: Dragons are the focus of The Bendigo Chinese Association’s Lunar New Year festival set for 10 February. Photo: FILE

THE Lunar New Year starts this Saturday and signifies the beginning of the Year of the Dragon.  

Bendigo history includes a rich Asian past dating back to the gold rush era of the 1800s, and the new year celebrations are a main feature of the Bendigo Chinese Association’s calendar. 

The organisation will be holding a festival to mark the start of the new year at Dai Gum San Precinct, featuring its oldest dragon, Sun Loong, who will be brought out of retirement for the occasion. 

“Even though he was restored in 2018, early-19, and then retired when the new dragon Dai Gum Loong came to Bendigo, he’s reserved for special occasions,” said president of the association, Doug Lougoon. “What more a special occasion than the year of the dragon. 

“It’s special to Bendigo, particularly because of our unbroken history of dragons since the 1800s. 

“He’s a favourite of probably three generations of Bendigonians since he first appeared in 1970.” 

Two other dragons will also be in attendance, its smaller dragon, Gwong Loong, and another belonging to the Hong Hong Kung Fu Club. 

“I think the dragon, the only mythical creature of the Chinese horoscope, is a great symbol of strength, bringer of good fortune and prosperity,” said Mr Lougoon.  

“Lots of good things associated with the dragon in Chinese culture. 

“The dragon symbol is a great highlight in Chinese culture across many spheres, and the dragon’s always been associated with the emperors of China and things like that.” 

Mr Lougoon said there will be a range of food trucks at the precinct, as well as its Lion Team, the Hong Hong Kung Fu Club, and the Karen Culture and Social Support Foundation. 

“It’s a great opportunity for great collaboration between everyone, to make the most of the year for everybody’s health and prosperity,” he said. 

“Plenty to see, plenty of food to eat. So yeah, should be a great night.” 

The Lunar New Year Festival will be on from 5.30pm to 8.30pm on 10 February.