Yu Ying Yang (8), Kai Xin Zheng (5) and Lin Jia Zheng (6) help to launch this year’s Chinese New Year Festival. Picture: Sasko Lazarov

THE annual Dublin Chinese New Year Festival started last week (on Friday, February 16) and is featuring fun, educational events for the whole family until March 4.

To welcome and help usher in the Year of the Dog, Asia Market []outlets?] served up a tasty variety of free dumplings all day, with a ‘dumpling day’ event.
There were also stalls that taught patrons how to make their own dumplings and a talk about the history of the iconic food.

Asia Market, Drury Street is continuing to host food-related events over the coming weeks, with food-tasting tours today (Thursday, February 22) and on March 1 which promise to be both tasty and educational; tickets are priced €20 each.

Asia Market will also host Friday Lunchtime Culture Talks tomorrow (Friday, February 23) and on March 2, with themes of Chinese New Year Traditions and Chinese Food as Medicine, respectively; tickets are priced €15 each.

There will be a Chinese Comic Book Workshop for children aged 4-12 on February 24, while for older children, there will be a workshop geared towards 12-17-year-olds later in the day; tickets for these are €10 each.

For Mandarin speakers, learners, and lovers there will be special Mandarin guided tours at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum on February 24 and 25 all day long; ticket prices vary.
On February 24 and 25, the museum is offering a free children’s Chinese lantern painting workshop with any regular family ticket purchase; family tickets include admission for two adults and two children, and are priced €35 each.

There are also plenty of free events coming up. The CHQ Building will host the Spring Festival Fair on February 24 and 25. This year’s programming is completely canine-themed and will feature performances, demonstrations, and games.

There will be lots of fun family-friendly activities such as Chinese calligraphy, Chinese paper cutting, Chinese tea ceremonies, red-envelope workshops, ping pong, face-painting, dog figure-making workshops and fairground rides.

Artist Barbara O’Connell will be teaching a Year of the Dog family-orientated stamp and print workshop on February 24 at the Dublin City Gallery. The event is free and no booking is required.

The Chester Beatty Library will host Professor Yan Yi Blake, from the Irish Chinese Cultural Society, who will give a free talk about the origins and significance of various Chinese new year traditions on February 24.

The library will also host a special screening of the classic 1948 Chinese film, Spring in a Small Town, on February 25.

The film is in Mandarin with English subtitles and no booking is required for this free event.
February 25 will see the Year of the Dog Sports Tournament. There will be soccer, basketball and badminton and prizes will be awarded. This is a free event but booking is required.

The Chester Beatty Library will also host Tai Chi workshops for teenagers on March 3.
There will be one for 12-15-year-olds and another for 15-17-year-olds; booking is required.

This is the eleventh year of the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival put on by the City Arts Office, part of the Culture, Community and Recreation Department of Dublin City Council. The festival aims to strengthen understanding of the Sino-Irish relationship.

Of the festival, President Michael D Higgins said: “In the Chinese zodiac the dog symbolises honesty and loyalty, reminding us of the need to place high standards of integrity and a genuine spirit of inclusion at the heart of our society. It is my sincere hope that, working together, we can craft such a society.

“The Chinese community in Ireland have played a critical role in the crafting of a more diverse and multicultural Ireland; one in which all our citizens can have a voice and be enabled to realise all of their possibilities.”

For further information on all of the programme events and to purchase tickets, see www.dublinchinesenewyear.com.

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