The Year of the Monkey… First Chinese New year celebrations in Gibraltar
by Gibraltar Tours
What better year than that of the Year of the Monkey to mark the very first time Gibraltar celebrates the Chinese New Year.
The Square located at the centre of town saw the president of the Chinese association in Gibraltar and Local Government Minister Linares,they each said a few words to welcome in the Chinese New year, celebrations began with a Dragon Dance and they continued to dance all the way as they paraded down Main street, Drum players, colourful dragons and dancers made their way to their final destination of Ocean Village, stopping at casemates to the delight of the children attending as they watched and had photos taken.
The Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival,this being the literal translation of the modern Chinese name.
According to tales and legends, the beginning of the Chinese New Year started with a mythical beast called the Nian. Nian would eat villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One day, a villager decided to get revenge on the Nian. A god visited him and told him to put red paper on his house and to place firecrackers. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. When the New Year was about to come, the villagers would wear red clothes, hang red lanterns, and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured by HongjunLaozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nian became HongjunLaozu’s mount.
Gibraltar lives in Harmony with many diverse cultures and quite possibly this event will grow with popularity in the coming years we will have to wait and see but for a first time event it wasn’t badly attended.
This is a great opportunity to thank all of our Asian visitors to the Rock of Gibraltar, and especially to our Gibraltar Tour clients.
Happy New Year !!