By Gwen O’Toole
Last Sunday (September 6) the Sydney Opera House forecourt saw the largest troupe of Chinese dancers and entertainers ever assembled outside mainland China gathering to commemorate the 60th National Day of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
A packed Sydney Opera House forecourt
Hosted by Douglas Fabian Productions, this first-time event saw 60 spectacular lions gathering for a traditional Eye Dotting Ceremony. The ceremony, an ancient tradition in which the spirit of new lions is awakened before they start to dance begins with the eyes being painted and then the ‘life’ of the lion begins to unfold, with music and dance.
The National Day of PRC is celebrated on the mainland, in Hong Kong and Macau and marked every year with special events and a week long public holiday. Considered to be as important as the Lunar New Year celebrations and a much valued opportunity to recognise the history, values and culture that make China special and unique.
Celebrations included a
traditional Eye Dotting Ceremony
to awaken new lions with dance
In addition to the ceremony, celebrations also included cultural dance, drum, vocal and acrobatic performances.
This year marks the first time that the National Day of PRC has been heralded in Australia with such a major event. It is particularly auspicious because of the 60 year cycle on which the Chinese cultural calendar is based.
“Watching a single lion dance is always exciting but to have 60 new lions being blessed and dancing at the same time will be nothing short of incredible,” says one of the organisers, EJ Ang.
“By staging this as a public celebration, we hope to promote unity, integration, recognition and harmony throughout the community and to recognise the relationship between Australia and China.”
The event was attended by several high ranking officials of the PRC Government including the Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to Australia and the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China. The Hon. Nathan Rees, Premier of NSW also attended to represent the State Government of New South Wales.