Chinese New Year Down Under

Australians are mad about celebrating Chinese New year.  It’s ironic, since Chinese men were fair game to the early white settlers; they prized every scalp they captured, preferably with pigtails attached.  Chinese women too if there were any to be had but they were mostly refused entry, in case they breed.  Now everyone is eating with chopsticks and learning Mandarin.

Someone asked me recently why the Chinese didn’t cut off their pigtails when they landed here.  It’s true; when you don’t know history, you don’t know anything.

The funny thing is, Chinese men kept their pigtails because they all wanted to go home –something that the white settlers wished they would do, though never soon enough.  China was under Manchurian rule from 1644 to 1912 and part of the Manchurian way of humiliating the Chinese was to force them to shave the front of their heads and wear a pigtail down their back or they were likely to be beheaded.

Anyway, back to Chinese New Year.  The Year of the Fire Monkey starts next week, on February 8 but already you see red and gold decorations everywhere and in all the CBDs of every municipality they are staging festivals.

What did I see on my way to my Chinese Calligraphy class today?  The Monkey and the Monk on their Journey to the West, quite lost, apparently.  Then Sandy showed up and I asked them to pose for me.  They were looking for a fair maiden to rescue, and as I’d seen her earlier, I pointed the way she went and left them to it.




About Mary Tang

An urban orchardist everyday, a volunteer regularly, a poet sometimes and a blogger since March 2015. I travel when I can. Food is a constant.
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11 Responses to Chinese New Year Down Under

  1. arlingwoman says:

    Great pictures, Mary. History is full of stories to give us pause.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. taphian says:

    very interesting history, Mary. I once saw Chinese New Year in Boston/USA, still have a Dollar for luck from a nice Chinese guy. Was very impressive. Cheers Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jameslantern says:

    Mary tang are you currently in china?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Laurie Graves says:

    An old, terrible story repeated all too often, with different ethnic groups, around the world. But, as the celebrations in Australia indicate, a little progress has been made.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hadn’t known about the early treatment of the Chinese; but was struck by how many there were in Sydney in 2008

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Tang says:

      The Yellow Peril!! Alas Asians are marked by the colour of their skin and hair though not all Asians you see in Sydney were Chinese and some have been here since before the First Fleet. There is also a large number here on student visas. Education is big business here and indeed some of our universities have overseas campus in Asia.

      Liked by 1 person

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