The Easter Fair and Bendigo’s Dragons

Dragons are traditionally used in China to celebrate special occasions such as the Lunar New Year, cultural festivals etc.

To register your interest in carrying our newest dragon – Dai Gum Loong – at this year’s Bendigo Easter Fair in 2024 please click on the button below.

 

The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou and its surrounding regions (Canton) are home to a rich dragon parade tradition that Cantonese migrants brought with them to Bendigo in the nineteenth century. In 1892 they obtained from China Bendigo’s first processional dragon for use in the annual Easter Fair, a charity fundraising event in which the Chinese community has been active in contributing a gala parade from 1879 to the present day.

In 1991, the Golden Dragon Museum was built to preserve and display the collection of dragons and the history of the local Chinese community which have been their cultural custodians.

Bendigo’s dragon tradition has been continued to this day by the Bendigo Chinese Association and has become a part of our local culture and heritage of which Bendigonians of all backgrounds are proud and can participate in.

To participate as a dragon carrier, in 2024, a carrier must be over the age of 16 and it is an expectation that all Dragon Carrier participants will have reasonable cardiovascular/aerobic endurance and muscular strength.

In this Year of the Dragon, to make the dragon carrying experience as enjoyable and safe as possible, The Bendigo Chinese Association is asking dragon carriers to nominate a friend or partner to share a carrying pole of Dai Gum Loong. Each individual must complete the details required by clicking the ‘Register to Carry’ button.

(N.B. We do understand that some experienced and stronger carriers may not require a pole ‘buddy’.)

Dai Gum Loong will be the highlight of The Bendigo Chinese Association’s participation in the Gala Parade to be held on Easter Sunday and a new tradition has been created to allow Dai Gum Loong to be carried by both female and male carriers.

There is great excitement around Dai Gum Loong’s appearance in the Year of the Dragon and 130 carriers are required for the Dai Gum Loong to parade majestically through the streets of Bendigo.

This is a fantastic opportunity to be involved first-hand in the Bendigo Easter Festival.

The Bendigo Chinese Association will parade Dai Gum Loong and be joined by eight visiting Chinese Associations and Performing Teams for a spectacular display.

DAI GUM LOONG 大金龍

(Big Gold Dragon)

Dai Gum Loong was brought from Hong Kong to replace Sun Loong in 2019. He was created by 雄獅樓 Hung C Lau Ltd workshop, a traditional lion and dragon builder. The mirrored scales, thousands of beads, and long skirts of his body are based on the Qing Dynasty style of his predecessor Loong, just like Sun Loong, keeping the lineage of these dragons unique and unseen anywhere else in the world. Before his first appearance in 2019 he was blessed and ritually brought to life in a traditional eye-dotting ceremony led by Mr Russell Jack AM Patron of the Golden Dragon Museum.

Dai Gum Loong is the longest Imperial style Dragon in the world, being over 120 metres in length, requiring 1 person to carry the head, 3 people to carry the neck, 62 people to carry the body, 1 person to carry the tail and at least 62 reliefs. Carrying the head of the dragon has always been considered a position of honour, being reserved for those with a long record of service and commitment to the Bendigo Chinese Association and the Golden Dragon Museum.

Dai Gum Loong requires at least 130 female and male carriers (including reliefs) and is approximately 120 meters long. He is covered in 7,000 scales, 100,000 mirrors, 60,000 beads, and his head weighs 28kg.

Register to carry Dai Gum Loong on Easter Sunday