Cape Town Embraces the Year of the Dragon with Vibrant Celebrations and Cultural Delights

The festival in full swing at V&A Waterfront, Cape Town (source: EA Reporter)

The V&A Waterfront celebrated the Chinese New Year for the first time in collaboration with the Chinese community in Cape Town this past weekend.

Also referred to as the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year is celebrated annually between 21 January and 20 February and represents the start of new life. The Amphitheater area outside the Waterfront was adorned with ornate Chinese lanterns and multiple dragon decorations all around. There were different activities prepared to educate people about Chinese customs and traditions ranging from calligraphy, handmade arts and crafts, and even a Taiji display. Additionally, visitors had the opportunity to sample Chinese tea and discover the meaning of their names in Chinese characters.

Here are five facts about the Chinese New Year: 

  1. This festival is celebrated based on the Lunar calendar and begins on when the new moon has been spotted and usually lasts 16 days. 
  2. Each year is associated with an animal. 2024 is the year of the dragon and those born in that year are said to have similar characteristics to that animal. 
  3. Instead of gifts, children are given red envelopes with money that they can spend on anything. 
  4. In the week leading up to Chinese New Year, it is tradition for people to do spring cleaning to get rid of any bad luck from the previous year and prepare for all the good things they are expecting in the new year. 
  5. The Chinese Lantern Festival takes place on the 15th day of the celebration which marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. At the Lantern Festival, glowing lanterns are released into the sky.