Thousands flocked to North Rocks Park, Carlingford to celebrate the Lunar New Year on Saturday 13 February. The festival welcomed in the Year of the Monkey and celebrated cultural diversity in the Sydney Hills.
Mayor of the Hills Shire Dr Michelle Byrne said the festival is one of the events she most looks forward to attending, citing the vibrant personalities, performances and displays as the festival’s stand out features.
“The Sydney Hills Lunar Festival is one of my favourite events because it brings so many people, of so many different ages and cultures together to celebrate community and the importance of diversity within the Hills,” Mayor Byrne said.
“The Lunar Festival introduces Hills residents to different aspects of the various Asian cultures and community groups living and operating within the Hills Shire. From Fruit carving displays, to traditional dance and music displays, k-pop performances, and traditional arts and cooking demonstrations, the Sydney Hills Lunar Festival has it all and provides an exciting snapshot of the wonderful diversity within our community,” she said.
The Festival’s afternoon program was filled with fun and fanfare for everyone to enjoy. With great displays from Hills cultural groups that invited locals to participate in traditional activities such as decorative knot tying, lantern and parasol making, festival goers were given hands on opportunities to learn about the different cultures that comprise the Hills community.
The night’s festivities included dazzling performances including the famous lunar Lion Dance, where not one, but two lions snaked their way through the crowd to meet the Mayor and have their eyes dotted, a tradition that is said to awaken the Lion’s spirit before it can perform.
“Dotting the Lion’s eyes is a really fun aspect of the Lunar Festival. Although it symbolises the awakening of the Lion, for me it also symbolises a coming together of different cultures and cooperation between Council and its community,” Mayor Byrne said.
The day’s celebrations concluded with a spectacular fireworks display that lit up the sky over North Rocks Park and provided the perfect end to the exciting and vibrant events of the day.
“The 2016 Sydney Hills Lunar Festival was a great success with over 7000 people attending throughout the day. I look forward to next year’s event and continuing to see the festival grow and incorporate more community and cultural groups in the future,” Mayor Byrne said.