For many years here in the Small City of Perth we lagged behind our larger counterparts when it came to boasting a multi-cultural community. Perth just wasn’t the melting pot we all wanted it to be! Thankfully, the exception to that rule has been our strong, active Chinese Community and over the years second and third generation Scottish-Chinese locals have woven our two cultures even closer together.
Many of you will have read Linda Chan-Malcolm’s Big Personality story and will know her Mum and Dad played their part in making sure we all fell in love with Chinese food, traditions and influences.
Since its inception in the sixties, Perth’s Chinese Community has grown and flourished and in more recent years has worked closely with organisations such as MEAD, to help other minority communities find a safe and happy voice within Perthshire.
Last year, for the first time they brought the amazing spectacle of Chinese New Year to the streets of Perth and with the help of other members of MEAD entertained us all dragons, lions, food, lanterns and so much more.
This year we were given more of the same as we came out to celebrate Chinese New Year 2016. The festival brought a whole new flavour to Perth Farmer's Market, as it joined them for a day of Far Eastern influence. Big, bright and brilliantly noisy anyone hitting Perth City Centre on Saturday 6th February was treated to a breathtaking display of talent.
From the traditional Chinese Lion that we've all now come to consider a big part of our Perth culture, to the delicate dancing, impressive martial arts skills and stunning displays of traditional Chinese Dress, this was a festival that opened up its beautifully coloured kimono clad arms and embraced all of us.
For me, festivals like this one are a hugely important part of who we all are, especially in the current climate where the narrative of multi-cultural communities is being used as a political point scoring tool. Parties like the one our own Chinese Community has just thrown us are a reminder that we are a richer, more diverse and happier city because of our first, second and third generations of Scottish-Global citizens.
Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar which is why the date changes from year to year.
Across the world, Chinese Communities started their festivities to welcome in The Year Of The Monkey on Sunday 7th February and many will continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.
You will all know, I’m sure that each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac but did you know that in addition to this, each year is also associated with one of the five vital elements: Gold, Water, Wood, Fire or Earth. 2016 is the 4713th Chinese Year and brings us the year of the Fire Monkey, or Red Monkey.
The monkey is considered to be intelligent, smart, wise, curious, energetic, impulsive, inventive, hyperactive, cheeky, strong-minded and vigilant. Red monkeys are problem solvers and work well within group environments, while retaining their individuality. In addition, their gentleness and honesty bring them an everlasting love life.
The New Year, according to the Chinese calendar, begins on 8 February and ends 27 January 2017. Here's to a prosperous and happy one for each and every person.
Kung Hei Fat Choy!
Gallery Photographer: Ian Potter is one half of PK Perspective, two Perthshire based photographers who like to get out and about looking for the next great shot. Check out their website and shop here>>>