Hill Street FRC’s 2016 Chinese New Year Community Celebration took place on Saturday, 13th of February between 11am and 2pm. In total around 400 people from the local area attended – families of Chinese heritage as well as those from the local Irish and multi-cultural communities. Besides the staff we had many volunteers helping before, during and after the celebration to make the event the success that it was.
Dublin City Council were kind enough to lend us some of their Chinese decorations and the Chinese Embassy kindly donated eight beautiful giant lanterns. Local restaurants donated tasty hot Chinese food and our parents cooked their own traditional meals and snacks. Two local artists displayed their Chinese-themed paintings and our children decorated the walls with their art. The visual result was stunning!
Chinese families attending Hill Street FRC groups planned the event the purpose of which was to allow Chinese families to celebrate Chinese New Year, and also to share their traditions and customs with the local community. There was a table with Chinese fruits and vegetables, mostly unknown to Western culture and provided on loan to us from a local market. Recipes for traditional Chinese dishes included the displayed vegetables. Another stand displayed herbal medicines and teas. There was a Feng Shui and Bonsai table with remedies for good luck, health and good fortune. There were two Art & Crafts areas where children made monkey masks (it is the year of the Monkey!), lanterns, kites and money envelopes. Visitors could look up their Chinese Zodiac sign and have their name written in Chinese characters by a Chinese grandparent currently visiting his family in Ireland.
According to Chinese tradition, during the New Year Celebrations you can write a wish for the coming year and hang it on a tree, so a volunteer painted two huge trees and visitors made wishes and stuck them on the tree. We had volunteer face painters and balloon model makers for the children – this was the busiest corner in the whole building!
The entertainment was provided by mostly local children, who prepared dances and musical performances for the event. We also had a music teacher showing us traditional Chinese instruments and Lion Dancers who performed a show outside in the playground. In our family room – a quiet area where people could sit – we showed a selection of short clips highlighting Chinese culture.
The event was a huge success, everyone – old and young – had lots of fun as is visible from our photos. So for the third year running we are planning for our 2017 event. Save the date – 11th of February 2017 – and join us next time!