The Chinese zodiac is based on the idea of zoolatry, or animal worship, and dates back to the Qin Dynasty – more than 2,000 years ago. According to legend, the Jade Emperor summoned all of the animals to his palace in order to participate in a great race, of sorts. The order in which the animals finished determined their place in the zodiac. In order from first to last, the results were as follows: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. The 12 animals correspond to a repeating 12-year cycle based on the lunar calendar. Lunar New Year, also referred to as Spring Festival, celebrates the transition from one animal to the next. As such, Lunar New Year 2022 marks the end of the Year of the Ox and the beginning of the Year of the Tiger, the third animal in the Chinese zodiac. People born in the Year of the Tiger are courageous, brave, active, vigorous, ambitious, daring, enthusiastic, generous, confident and maintain a healthy appreciation for a proper challenge and the more adventurous aspects of life. Furthermore, Tigers possess a keen sense of justice and a commitment to help others so as to foster the greater good. With Lunar New Year 2022 officially kicking off on Tuesday, February 1, a quintessential day of celebration has been curated by three of the city’s most popular entities – the NGV, the MSO and Spice Temple at Crown.
On Saturday, February 5, from 10am until 3pm, the National Gallery of Victoria invites Lunar New Year revelers to enjoy a day of art, food and music, as well as complimentary art-making activities for kids. Guests are encouraged to get creative by joining drawing activities for both kids and the whole family, alike, in the Great Hall. There is also the opportunity to behold Melbourne-based Chinese artist Echo Wu as she demonstrates a performative Chinese brush-painting technique. The Hong De Lion Dance Association will dazzle spectators with its version of the high-energy, cacophonous dragon dance. Two performances are scheduled for 1:30pm and 2:15pm. To gain a greater understanding of the cultural and artistic practices of the complex and dynamic region of Asia, partake in a guided tour of the NGV’s Asian Art Collection. This collection, the result of the ongoing efforts of Senior Curator Wayne Crothers, charts more than 5,000 years of history, from the ceramics and jades of the Neolithic Age to the works of leading contemporary artists and designers. To relax and recuperate, grab a drink and a small bite to eat and enjoy a live DJ set with Vivian Vo, aka “Small FRY”. For an appropriate conclusion to your NGV Lunar New Year celebration, collect complimentary red envelopes from the Design Store while securing the perfect gifts for family and friends.
Melbourne-based Chinese artist Echo Wu will be demonstrating a performative Chinese brush-painting technique at the National Gallery of Victoria on Saturday, February 5 from 10am – 3pm.
Next, reserve a table for an early dinner at Crown’s Spice Temple, where you will be treated to a feast of auspicious dishes. Head Chef Joshua Kerr has created a multi-course, fixed-price menu which showcases a meticulous display of food symbolism – purse-shaped pipis representing good fortune, fish symbolising life and abundance, eggs signifying fertility and a sufficient amount of red ingredients, representations of prosperity and happiness. Specifics include drunken abalone, Huadiao wine, Chinese wolfberry; glazed duck breast, steamed bread pockets, hoisin, leek and cucumber; roast pork, Chinese mustard, pickles; and tang yuan, or sweet rice dumplings. The banquet includes an appropriately named Tiger cocktail upon arrival, and optional wine pairings are available for each course.
Finally, conveniently located within walking distance of Crown Casino, make your way to Hamer Hall for the annual Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Lunar New Year performance. This year’s performance will blend together the traditions of Western opera and Chinese masterworks. The unique musical celebration features an all-star cast, including conductor Joshua Tan, cellist Li-Wei Qin, soprano Sharon Zhai and tenor Kang Wang. Works by Mendelssohn, Puccini, Mascagni, Zhao Jiping, Wang Xilin, Gu Jianfen and Xu comprise the program, and the duration of the concert will be approximately two hours, with interval included. The MSO’s Lunar New Year performance is the perfect opportunity to spend a relaxing evening with family and/or friends and to renew your appreciation for Australia’s multicultural heartbeat.
Here is wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous Year of the Tiger!
Crown’s Spice Temple Head Chef Joshua Kerr has created a multi-course menu that showcases a meticulous display of food symbolism to celebrate the Year of the Tiger.
One of Australia’s major cultural highlights, the MSO’s Chinese New Year Concert, featuring cellist Li-Wei Qin, is a true blend of traditions. Saturday 5 February 2022 at 7:30pm at Hamer Hall.