Chinese New Year, which officially start on the 10th February for 2013 and the celebration goes on for 15 days. 2013 is the Year of the Snake according to the Chinese Zodiac.
Chinese New Year is not a holiday here in Australia, though it is celebrated among the Chinese and Vietnamese communities and enjoyed by the others in the community. The usual lion dance can be found happening at Melbourne's Chinatown and restaurants to usher in good fortunes.
This year we went to the Crown's Riverwalk to celebrate the New Year at their annual Hawkers' Bazaar, featuring traditional Asian food and merchandise stalls, cooking demonstrations and live entertainment. Also featured are the firework displays at night but we gave them the miss. The Crown's Hawker's Bazaar start on the 8th February - 10th February.
When we got to the Riverwalk, it was the food stalls that drawn our attention first on account of the aromatic smell that flowed from the many food stalls cooking. One in particular is the Lao Tuo Jia Restaurant stall serving lamb skewer. The stall itself was smoky, has two cooks one with a sweat towel around his neck, fanning and turning the skewers over the fire. Judging from the long line of people queuing up (that's a Melburnian thing to do) to buy some, it must be yummy! What's interesting also was the truck parked behind the stall that advertised ".... Cool Room Hire". I wonder.
A few stalls further is Little Nyonya, that not only serves Malaysian food but do so with a smile. All of them. They must be emphasising something about their food.
Fortunately it was not a very hot evening and as we were early, there wasn't a hugh crowd but I can see the crowd building up as the day goes by; the young, the old, casual and colourfully dressed, multi-cultural aspect of the city begin to show. Some were already sampling the food they got and I spy some feeding each other.
There were live entertainment on two stages and buskers along the river walk to keep the people happy and entertained. Some in the crowd unsuspectedly or voluntarily became part of the busker entertainers for the crowd.
At the time, the live stage entertainment was six ladies playing a traditional Chinese stringed instruments; a Guqin. From the looks of the instrument it is a difficult instrument to learn and play. My view only. It seems perfectly natural to the ladies playing.
Most stalls on display along the Riverwalk were colourful and have something of the traditional Chinese arts and crafts on display, though not all stalls. Those that may interest you as it did for us, are the Chinese New Year decorations, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese tea making, Chinese cooking and noodle making. There is even a stall for those interested in Feng Shui and fortune telling.
If you are looking for something to do tonight or for tomorrow, this is one place to be. Better decide soon, for the bazaar finishes tomorrow.
For other Chinese New Year happenings around the city, click here.