Happy New Year and Gong Hei Fat Choy! Happy 2020 and Lunar New Year.
This weekend is a big holiday weekend here in Australia, with celebrations for Lunar New Year today and Australia Day tomorrow, so I’m back with my dolls to commemorate both. It’s been a tough couple of months here in Australia, with the worst weather and bushfires on record. We have had record heat waves and because most of the country has been in drought for so long and the land is so dry, it made for horror fire conditions with millions of hectares burnt and many lives and homes lost over several states. Smoke haze has enveloped cities and suburbs causing health issues, and smoke has even reached other countries, with parts of New Zealand blanketed. Fires are still burning as I type, and the bushfire season has only just started. We have also recently had floods and severe hail storms that have caused serious damage. So, there are many people who have been and are marking holidays without much to celebrate. My heart goes out to those who have been affected.
Today marks the Lunar New Year and welcomes the year of the rat. My dolls have gathered to watch the lion dance. I found the lion marionette at a second hand shop last year, and thought it may work in a diorama for dolls, but it was rather more than I wanted to spend. For a few weeks, I umed and ahed over it when I went into the shop, before finally working up the courage to be cheeky and tell them I love the puppet but not the price tag. They happily brought the price down to what I was willing to pay. I have yet to make the boys appropriate outfits and this (and the following) diorama was thrown together in haste this arvo, but you get the idea. And if you look very closely, you’ll see rat himself makes an appearance.
Unfortunately, Australia Day has become a very divisive holiday. It commemorates the landing of the First Fleet of British convict ships in 1788 and is now supposed to celebrate all things Australian. But many indigenous – and non-indigenous people – see it as an invasion day, when land, freedom and in many cases lives were stolen. And fair enough too. There is much debate about changing the date, and many people celebrate it as a day of mourning, remembering all of our history – good and bad. My dolls learnt a bit more about indigenous art before kicking back in the most Aussie way they know, a barbecue.
Happy Australia Day and welcome, the year of the rat.
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