On February 5, 2022, an unusual cultural event took place in Dnipro. For the first time in its history, our city celebrated the New Year in a big way. And not the traditional Ukrainian New Year, but the Chinese New Year.
This year it fell on February 1. It was Tuesday and Dnieper celebrated it on Saturday.
What is the Chinese New Year?
According to Chinese tradition, the New Year is not a winter holiday (as in Europe) and is celebrated as a new season, as the arrival of spring, not as a simple change of date on the calendar.
The Chinese have a great culture of celebrating this holiday and it is associated with evil spirits, the arrival of spring, fertility and life.
The Legend of the Evil Spirit and the Chinese New Year
At the center of the legend of the Chinese New Year holiday is the Evil Spirit. Once upon a time, a village was terrorized by the evil spirit Nyan. This creature had horns and lived at the bottom of the sea. It came every year at the same time, devoured the cattle and took the locals away. People had to hide and leave their homes to avoid becoming victims of the monster. They did not like it, but there was nothing they could do about it.
One day an old man came to the village. He promised that he would cast out the evil spirit and asked all the villagers to leave their homes while he would fight him. They did not believe him – but they agreed. What if it works!
What did the old man do? He made many firecrackers and hung lanterns all over the village. The explosions, fireworks, and bright colors scared away the evil spirit that had come, and it never touched the people of this country again.
Now in the New Year people blow up firecrackers, light lanterns, wear bright clothes to scare away the evil spirit and in the new season to live happily and in prosperity and happiness.
During the celebrations of the Chinese New Year necessarily come theatrical performances, during which the evil spirit comes and cast it out.
That’s why they have lavish celebrations with lots of bright colors and explosions.
Dragon Dance and Chinese New Year
In Chinese mythology, the dragon has positive qualities and brings happiness and good luck. In China they always carry a dragon in parades, showing that they have tamed it, thereby ensuring a good future.
The dragon performs a dance and it’s a mesmerizing spectacle. This was also the case in Dnepr.
Chinese New Year in Dnipro
We had prepared for this celebration in advance and, in fact, from the beginning the organizers had no idea how grand this event would be.
Everything started with the fact that the entire program was prepared by local activists. Businessmen and then the authorities joined them. For four days they blocked the whole block. They closed Barrikadnaya Street from Shalom Aleichem to Yavornitsky Avenue.
The street was covered with lanterns, traditional Chinese arches at two entrances, several stages, and pavilions with street food. By the way, the food was not only Chinese, but also Korean and Japanese. And some of the food was actually from those countries.
For example, I knew such dishes as yannem chiken and chige for the first time. And I even tasted something.
Then there were unreal lines to these tents, and the food was delicious (although the lines were small).
A lot of people came. Periodically Dragon was “launched” in the crowd, a noodle battle was held – noodles from different regions of China were cooked.
At one point a representative of the embassy of China arrived and said something (I did not see him).
As part of the festival there was an exhibition of Chinese electric cars, and creative people were selling their handicrafts – even in the Ukrainian style:)
The most interesting thing started when the sun went down. Now the lanterns began to shine brighter and the atmosphere was more authentic.
Local theaters showed the exorcism of evil spirits, then came the guys with a fire show. And finally, the dragon dance.
It was long and enchanting. Loud sounds, bright lights, energetic dancing.
Such carnivals Dnipro rarely sees, and most likely will not see for the next couple of years.
All the celebration of the Chinese New Year in Dnipro took 4 days. The first days were for preparations, the second were for festivities.