This year, Dublin City Spring Festival Fair was held in the CHQ Building in I.F.S.C. It is the celebration of the Chinese New Year and this is the year of The Monkey. Customary to tradition many people wear red for the celebration as it is the colour of good luck and a symbol of happiness. In Chinese mythology there is a creature called a Nian. It comes out once a year around The New Year. It attacked villagers and preferred children and it is purportedly afraid of the colour red and loud noises. After the Nian attacked villagers, they decided that leaving food out, wearing red and throwing firecrackers would scare the Nian away. This is how the tradition started.
As part of the celebrations you might see a Chinese lion Dance which portrays the Nian. Red lanterns are also a part of the celebration. In the CHQ Building there were many displays of modern and ancient Chinese culture. Martial artists from UCD Shaolin and Wu Shu put on impressive demonstrations. People sat and learned how to play Chinese Chess. I met the money god and young people hanging wishes from the branches of a tree. There were dancers in traditional costumes, tea being served, face painting and sweets being made. I met the elegant ladies of The Chinese Cultural Academy in full costume display.
There were foods on offer at the many stands around the building. The atmosphere was exciting. Every now and again the Lion Dance would pass by to a massive cheer. With the Lion came whistling and shouting and the crowd swarmed in on the action. There was great mix of cultures and I met so many beautiful and happy people at the celebration. Chinese New Year 2016, Spring Festival Fair at the CHQ building was simple fantastic. The Year Of The Monkey.
~ Prof Patrick McNally, DCU