Chinese tradition on show at New Year celebration


HUNDREDS GATHERED in Dublin yesterday to celebrate the Chinese new year and usher in the Year of the Tiger.

Those attending the Chinese carnival event in Wolfe Tone Park on Jervis Street were treated to entertainment including a performance of Chinese ribbon and sword dances by the Shanghai University dance troupe; Chinese dragon and lion dances; and Tai chi and martial arts displays.

The carnival, which was organised by Dublin City Council for the third year running, drew many members of the city’s Chinese community.

According to the 2006 census, two-thirds of Chinese nationals resident in Ireland live in Dublin city centre.

“This is the biggest Chinese new year celebration I’ve seen in Ireland so far,” said Dalan Guo, a beautician who moved to Dublin from China’s Fujian province in 2004.

“We are happy to see the Irish Government paying more attention to this day, especially as more and more Chinese are investing here.”

Ning Jiang and her husband Yong Gang Wang from Dalian city in northeast China agreed.

“We have lived here for six years now and it’s good to experience something like this that reminds us of home,” said Ning.

Mimi Wong, a student of finance and accounting who moved to Ireland from Shenyang city in northeast China 10 years ago, was attending the carnival for the first time.

“Dublin doesn’t have a Chinatown so it is great to have this event today,” she said. “I like seeing familiar things that remind me of our culture and traditions.”

Joey Chan, who is studying for a PhD in micro-electronic engineering at UCC, said he would like to see more people participating in the festivities. “It’s one way of learning about our culture,” he added.

Yesterday’s event was one of several planned as part of the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival which runs until February 21st.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister for Integration John Curran said the festival had become an “important and integral” part of the Dublin events calendar.

“Each year it goes from strength to strength and it is a wonderful celebration of the contribution that the Chinese community in Ireland has made to our society, economy and culture,” he said.

China’s ambassador to Ireland Liu Biwei addressed the gathering in Mandarin and English. He paid tribute to the relationship between the two countries. “I am sure that in the future it will be even better,” Mr Liu added.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Emer Costello said the carnival was an opportunity for Chinese people living in Dublin to “showcase their unique and special culture and . . . celebrate their welcome place in Dublin society.”

Festival organiser Amy Yin Zhang added that it had become an important event for Chinese living in the city. “New Year is the most important festival for over one and a quarter billion Chinese people all over the world. The Dublin carnival celebrates not just the fact that we are Chinese but also that we live here in Dublin and want to share our culture with other Dubliners,” she said.