This exhibition provides insight into Chinese and Chinese Australian culture in Cairns through the exhibition and interpretation of costumes, instruments and practices associated with the performance of the Lion and Dragon Dance during the Chinese New Year celebrations since the 1870s.
The objects exhibited are a mix of historic and contemporary items from the CADCAI collection.
Colourful lion and dragon performances accompanied by sounds of drums, cymbals and gong and firecrackers are a quintessential feature of modern Chinese New Year celebrations in the western world.
In Cairns this tradition actually began more than 130 years ago with the arrival of Chinese migrants, mostly men, from the Pearl River Delta region of Southern China (Guangzhou), these early pioneers brought with them their own unique brand of folklore, social and spiritual practises.
Lions and dragons are steeped in Chinese mythology. The lion represents power, wisdom and superiority and like Chinese dragons, their appearance at Chinese New Year and other celebrations are believed to bring prosperity and good fortune.
From all reports Chinese New Years were huge affairs with gathering at the temples, fireworks feasting and merriment continuing for several days.
For those early migrants far from their homelands the familiar sights and sounds of the lion and dragon invoked positive feelings of joy and hope for a successful life in a new country.
Open from Saturday 6 February 6 to Saturday 17 April 2021.
Covid-safe measures are in place.
Monday to Saturday 10-4pm
Child (under 14): $6
Family (2 parents or grandparents + 2 kids): $30