Beware - the dragon reigns now

By Merania Karauria

Wanganui's own dragon, Chinese lions, beating drums and gongs, along with traditional Chinese dumplings will be at Majestic Square tomorrow.

The Year of the Dragon started on the new moon of January 23 and now, it is Wanganui's turn to celebrate what the Chinese say is an auspicious year.

Mainstreet Wanganui and the Wanganui branch of the Chinese Association are inviting locals to Majestic Square between 10am and 2pm to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Mainstreet Wanganui marketing manager Elise Goodge and Mainstreet Wanganui facilitator Geoff Follet have been busy making a dragon's head, and those who come to celebrate can help decorate the dragon's body.

Ms Goodge said the completed dragon will then be paraded along Victoria Ave.

In line with the New Year celebration, a visiting group of Lion Dance specialists will bless and entertain those who come to the festivities, where local Tai Chi experts will also demonstrate their passive fighting art.

There will be a demonstration of Chinese calligraphy and culinary arts students will show the fine art of noodle pulling.

Chinese Association Wanganui secretary Eileen Ng said she and Ms Goodge began planning last year and she saw this as a way to help others understand the Asian culture and its celebrations.

Mrs Ng said food was a very important part of the celebrations. Meat or vegetarian dumplings that are steamed, or pan-fried, are the Chinese New Year delicacy, and will be served during celebrations.

Another Chinese ritual is the "lucky money" red packets traditionally given to the lion dancers, who visited Chinese homes and businesses to spread good luck.



The Year of the Dragon celebrations: Majestic Square, February 18, 10am-2pm

Dragon Year predictions:

The water dragon year started in the new moon on January 23.

As the dragon can be a volatile and fiery creature, so too will 2012 be a volatile year, with further overseas conflicts and natural disasters predicted.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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