Chinatown will celebrate the Year of the Ox in COVID-safe style with Chinese New Year festivities in February.
Chinese New Year will take place on February 12. Premier Daniel Andrews and Lord Mayor Sally Capp will officially launch the festivities on February 11 at Chinatown Square in Cohen Place.
Miss Eng Lim, President of the Melbourne Dai Loong Association, said two changes had been made to ensure celebrations are COVID-safe.
The Lion dancers will be blessing businesses throughout the festival as usual, but for the first time in decades, there will be no dragon parade.
Miss Lim said health and safety came first.
“When you think about the dragon coming out, the volunteers are under the dragon …[they’re in] close proximity, and all it takes is just one person,” she said.
Food and merchandise stalls will also not feature at this year’s festivities, but Miss Lim encourages visitors to book a table and enjoy outdoor dining.
“Sit out and enjoy the special Chinese banquet to celebrate Chinese New Year,” she said.
On Chinese New Year’s Eve, the family-friendly fun will include two countdowns: one for the adults at midnight, as well as an earlier countdown for children.
“We’ll do a small, little countdown at 9pm so that they have a bit of fun, and then go home…have their milk and go to bed!” Miss Lim said.
Activities for visitors include traditional events, such as cultural arts and crafts, alongside other less traditional activities, which include a milk-drinking competition and cowboy films at an outdoor cinema.
The final day of the festival is on February 14, which will incorporate Valentine’s Day activities.