Lunar New Year In Dublin

I seem to lead a very multicultural life at the moment. I’m interviewing a Hawaiian ska punk band by email for a South Korean music magazine. I meet students from Korea, Spain, Germany and Peru on a weekly basis, and focus my lessons around cultural integration into a culture that isn’t even my own. More of my post comes from the UK, or from Korea, than from within Ireland. As much as it’s all a bit odd, I love it. Pretty much every time I’m not with Helena I’m learning about some far flung corner of the world, and I’ve still got plenty to learn about Ireland too.

I hear about so many things that I wouldn’t otherwise know about. Next week I’ll be watching the Barcelona football derby in the only pub in Ireland that shows Spanish and Italian live football. This weekend I went to a celebration for Lunar New Year in a Dublin park, which was excellent (I’ve been told calling it Chinese New Year is not really right, as it’s celebrated all the way from Japan to Turkey!).

The event was a pretty impressive effort: no match for the mass exodus to hometowns in Korea, but worthy of Dublin’s strong Asian community. The tents around the park were a bit disappointing – too focused on commercials for telephones and money transfer – except for a couple of decently priced Asian stores. I picked up a set of chopsticks and a bunch of fortune cookies for a few Euro, and waited for the show to start.

In early afternoon a man in a huge brown cow costume announced the beginning of the year of the bull, before a Buddhist monk blessed the park and a slightly odd old man introduced the celebrations. A couple of huge Chinese lions danced around the stage and through the audience, scaring off the bad spirits that are supposed to raise from the earth this time of year. The vibrant costumes and lively dances are something they don’t have in Korea, so it was a new experience for me, and helped me to understand the new year a lot better. A surprising number of people braved the pouring rain, too.

Helena spent the weekend away in Limerick with her friends, so I cooked a roast with fortune cookies for when she got back. As you do. Mine read ‘Good health will be yours for a long time’. Let’s hope so!

James x

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