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The 2019 Chinese New Year and Cultural Festival

The Nan Hua Temple once again provided the stunning backdrop for the Chinese New Year and Cultural Festival. Attendees could be forgiven for thinking they had been transported to the Far East as they stood in the shadow of the magnificent buildings while hundreds of firecrackers echoed loudly around the temple, creating small explosions in order to drive away old ghosts and evil spirits.

The mesmerising Dragon and Lion Dances were performed to the pulsating beat of drums which simulated the heartbeat of the auspicious creatures. Both dances were performed as a means to chase away evil spirits and welcome in prosperous times, and to show respect to Buddha.

Amid all the noise and jubilation, the smell of incense wafted out from the Temple where people offered silent prayers for the New Year and to their ancestors.

2019 ushers in the year of the Pig, which is believed to be a good year to make money and friends. The portly pig is associated with wealth, good fortune, emotion, and intuition.

Representative Matthew Chou from the Taipei Liaison Office wished everyone a happy Lunar New Year saying, "The Pig represents the completion of a cycle, as the Pig is the twelfth sign of the Chinese Zodiac. In life, every end is a new beginning, and it is in that spirit that today we look forward to the coming year with hope and aspirations in our hearts."
Red envelopes symbolising good luck were handed out to the thousands of people. Inside was a beautiful blessing for the New Year and money, as is the tradition for the New Year.

The rows and rows of mouth-watering food stalls did not disappoint and is always a highlight of the festival. From vegetable fritters, stinky tofu, fried noodles, bubble tea, matcha ice cream, vegan dogs, and fake fish and chips, each vendor had a unique take on the strictly vegetarian street food. Over the years the food has been drawing foodies to the festival and to anyone who wants to try authentic Asian street food.

Balloon sculpting, lantern painting, go-cart racing, paintball, trampoline jumping with bungee cords were but some of the activities for the little ones, while cultural events around the Temple and meditation sessions provided food for the mind, body, and soul and got everyone into the right mindset to tackle the New Year.

 

Lunar New Yaer 2019 1

Representative Matthew Chou (far right) with The Mentor of the Nan Hua Temple, Venerable I-Chun (second from right).

Lunar New Yaer 2019 2

Representative Matthew Chou delivering his remarks.

Lunar New Yaer 2019 3

The gong is sounded, signifying the opening the cultural ceremony.

Lunar New Yaer 2019 4

Representative Matthew Chou (far right) with The Mentor of the Nan Hua Temple, Venerable I-Chun (second from right).

Lunar New Yaer 2019 5

Representative Matthew Chou and The Mentor of the Nan Hua Temple, Venerable I-Chun, handing the red envelope to the Dragon.