2020 Year of the Rat Celebrations Continue

The lunar new year celebrations have continued this week around Sydney. Unfortunately, due to current Coronavirus outbreak/scare, a few local councils have postponed their community celebrations including Burwood, Eastwood, Rhodes and Ashfield. It still hasn’t stopped the lion dancers from hitting the streets to do shop performances, nor did it dampen the mood of the local Cabramatta/ Fairfield City Vietnamese community with hosting the annual Hoi Cho Tet at Fairfield Showground.

The atmosphere of the Cho Tet was fun. It was a very hot day at around 40 degrees but even when I arrived at 9.30pm, the celebratory atmosphere was ongoing. There was plenty of live performances throughout the night on the main stage ( I got to catch the Viet Vo Dao/ Vovinam team do an exciting performance. I can’t get enough of the spinning scissor kicks to flip their opponents. There was also a lot of singing and parading) and in the surrounding tents. There was a mock Cho Ben Thanh facade complete with live band and karaoke; bingo/ lotto with the ever alluring host singing the numbers in ballads. There were stalls promoting Vietnamese culture such as flower decorating and calligraphy, the local 1st Canley Heights Scout group (a local Vietnamese scouts group that I had joined as a child and is still active in the community to promote Vietnamese culture, life skills to the youth of the community) had a stall to promote Vietnamese culture and to rally to help out with a bushfire appeal, women’s welfare, art, support to the old South Vietnam veterans and of course plenty of food. The aromas of bbq’d bo la lot (beef wrapped in betel leaf skewers), bbq’d corn, bun dac biet, baby duck eggs, and various che- green slugs, basil seed drinks, sugarcane drink, iced lemon tea was overwhelming. It brings me back to my youth and to dreams of what it was like for my parents and relatives to grow up in Vietnam. I can only imagine an excitingly fun time!

Sydney Choy Lee Fut

The Choy Lee Fut school had been around for a fairly long time and they reliably bring around the firecrackers if the shops wanted them. There has been a thread around on one of the Facebook lion dancing groups regarding whether people prefer firecrackers or not. I am 100% firecrackers. I love it. The sounds, the smells, the red paper everywhere, the chaoticness of it. To me, it’s the climax to a performance. It just makes the show complete. I don’t feel there is a need for the players to rush into the firecrackers. They can stay back in safety from the explosions and smoke, relax and enjoy the show. There’s nothing like a sea of red carpet for the dancers to dance on.

Dragon Style Kung Fu

Some more action shots and a team photo.

Fairfield Community Hoi Cho Tet