Dublin’s Hill Street celebrates the Lunar New Year

Hill Street Resource Centre, in the heart of Dublin’s Chinese community, celebrated its 10th Lunar New Year this week.

Lunar New Year on Feburary 11 in Dublin at 2pm. Photo by Synoah Peñaflorida
Lunar New Year in Dublin at 6pm. Photo by Synoah Peñaflorida

Local people painted the street red with their Chinese lanterns and tents that were filled with family-friendly workshops and games.

Chinese New Year is one of the important holidays in Chinese culture. This is celebrated to welcome the upcoming spring and to celebrate the continuing cycle of the Chinese zodiac. 

This year’s celebration is to welcome the Year of the Dragon.    

The importance of the event is that it “…shows Ireland as the diverse country that it is, and enables participation of many different cultures in showcasing their culture. It creates a sense of cultural identity for Asian children growing up in Ireland.”

Eileen Smith CEO of Hill Street Family Resource Centre
Eileen Smith (Right) and Lisa Miao(Left). Photo by Synoah Peñaflorida

The Hill Steet Family Resource Centre (HSFRC) arranged a variety of family-friendly workshops that engage both children and adults alike. Each tent offered different activities such as board games, Chinese calligraphy, fun paper cut-outs, shadow puppet making, and many more.

Children playing Kick Jian zi – a Chinese sport. Photo by Synoah Peñaflorida

The shadow puppet making was led by Julie-Rose McCormick, who is a puppeteer who also performed a puppet Chinese folklore during the event. 

One of the activities of the event was the free massage given by the volunteers of HSFRC for the attendees.

This year’s celebration also showcased various talents and performances from different walks of life.

Performances included Loboko likola (Congo dance), Mongolian song, Guzheng instrumental piece (Chinese instrument), K-pop dances, Chinese dances and singing, Irish singing, and performances from the children and teenagers of HSFRC.

The performances were truly a sight to see as they were performances indigenous to certain countries, and it gives a story of how these dances and songs reflect the rich culture each of this country has.

Loboka Na Mbonda after performing a traditional Congo dance, Loboko Likola. Photo by Synoah Peñaflorida

There were a total of 45 performances that happened during the event, and Smith said many have been practising since late last year.

“The preparation is the highlight of the event, because of the number of families that came every evening since October to prepare for it.”

Food was also part of the festivities.

Sonny’s meal box. Photo by Synoah Peñaflorida

One of the foods that was well-liked by many was the Korean fried chicken sold by Sonny’s. They also sold pork dumplings, and vegetable samosas with various sauces.

One of the most anticipated performances of the event was the lion dance.

The lion dance is an important highlight of the Chinese New Year as it is believed to fight evil spirits and that it brings good luck and wealth.

Lion dance performance by Chinese Lion Dance Ireland. Photo by Synoah Peñaflorida

The event ended with the HSFRC team singing Xin Nian Hao (Happy New Year song) and wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

The HSFRC started celebrating the event ten years ago when some Chinese families raised their concerns about their children not being able to fully embrace the Chinese culture, so to help with concern, the Group decided to celebrate this event to enrich the culture of the Chinese children born in Ireland. 

“Often they say to us that the celebration here is bigger than in their own countries.” Over the years the event grew more “…so it started with 80 people attending to 5000 people attending the event yearly.”

Eileen Smith – CEO of Hill Street Family Resource Centre

Eileen Smith added that during the first year of the event, there were only four Chinese-Irish families that celebrated the occasion, and from there, it continued to grow into a community.

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