We like to take our celebrations seriously here in Tasmania, and the Chinese New Year is one such opportunity. Hobart & Beyond comes alive for two weeks of celebration, with many businesses putting on a show, event, or putting up decorations.
But first, I feel like we should clear up some confusion. Is it the year of the sheep, goat or ram? The backstory is that they’re not sure, as the Chinese character can specify either sheep or goat. It seems that sheep is more popular in some countries, while goat is more popular in others. Either way, some choose to celebrate goat/ram because it’s a more proactive and forward looking ideal, rather than the sheep which can be seen as a follower.
Wrest Point Casino is certainly taking the ram by the horns this year with a series of shows and events, including lighting the whole tower red, decorating their premises in the Lunar New Year theme, and culminating with a Traditional Lion Dance and a Lunar New Year banquet at the Revolving Restaurant.
Hobart has a strong Chinese presence, with both the Chinese Community Association of Tasmania and the Tasmania Chinese Business Association both pulling together to create a full calendar of events, from a gala ball to kick off the festivities through to a free Lunar New Year festival featuring Chinese culture and cuisine, a display by Dragon Boat Tasmania and a ‘Panda Zone’ for children.
As this is the Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram, farm stay experiences such as Curringa Farm and 28 Gates or goat and sheep experiences like Giants Table, all three of which are in the Derwent Valley, are expected to be particularly sought after. At this sort of destination visitors can participate in farm tours, working dog shows, sheep shearing, fly fishing and bird watching (note that the experience will depend on the time of year and booking).
The Chinese New Year is a great time to get out and about in Hobart and Southern Tasmania, and participate in the culture and tradition that is inherent in the celebration.
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania & Scott Sporleder, Matador