Chinese cultural celebrations will stretch from the CBD, through Southbank and into Docklands during next February’s Chinese New Year.
About 70 different member groups of the Federation of Chinese Associations (FCA) will display, perform and celebrate the dawning of the Chinese Year of the Dog over two weekends starting on February 16.
A Chinese delegation comprising the He Nan Province Arts Company and the Shao Lin Monk Chinese Culture and Martial Arts Academy’s martial arts team will perform.
FCA president Junxi Su explained that a riot of colour and movement would engulf the city for seven days, ending with a gala concert on February 28.
Ms Su said the budget for the Melbourne Chinese New Year Festival was smaller this year, but would involve more grassroots cultural participation by various Chinese groups.
One of the highlights, she said, would be a flash mob of 500 people performing traditional cultural dance in Queensbridge Square.
The detailed program of events is still being developed, but Ms Su said Melburnians could expect to be blown away by the authenticity of the celebrations.
Among other offerings would be demonstrations, music, dance, performance, food, lighting, lessons, storytelling, costume shows, gymnastics, art, parades, Qi Pao, opera, cooking, language, stilt walking, martial arts and a dinner for international students.
FCA vice-president Thomas Ling said Chinatown would have specific celebrations, but Chinese New Year was a statewide event and its expansion throughout Melbourne was just the beginning.
“As the peak body, the FCA has the capacity and a duty to present the festival as widely as we can,” he said.
“Our thing is to stand up for what we believe in – for what we must do to preserve and celebrate our heritage.”
Ms Su said Chinese New Year was a fundamental part of people’s lives and was a great time of family, happiness and gift giving.
“We always celebrate Chinese New Year,” she said. “It’s in our blood.”
So far, the program has scheduled events in Federation Square, Queensbridge Square, Southbank Promenade, South Wharf, Harbour Esplanade, Library at the Dock, The District Docklands and St Kilda. It is expected that this list will also extend to the Queen Victoria Market and the Immigration Museum in Flinders St.
The FCA represents 132 organisations and was formed 39 years ago to speak as a single voice for the Chinese community.
Mr Ling said: “The Chinese Consulate looks to the FCA as the true representative of the Chinese community.”
He said the motivation for the formation of the association was in response to a request from funding bodies to deal with a single organisation.