On Sunday 19 January I had the privilege of representing the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT) at the Lunar New Year Celebrations held in Springvale to celebrate the Year of the Rat.
Lunar New Year has always been a special part of my life as one of the most important dates in the Asian community calendar. While I have attended many of these celebrations in my time, it never stops being an opportunity to learn something new and take a moment to reflect on culture, heritage and tradition.
In the spirit of reflection, I wanted to share the three lessons I will bring back with me into our SMCT community:
Traditions unite us
Watching nearly 100,000 people gather in celebration, reminded me that nothing brings people together like tradition. In honouring tradition, we find the common thread that connects us and the shared identity that defines us.
SMCT feels like a special place to me for this reason, it gives our Asian community a dedicated place to honour tradition and connect the stories of our past, to the story of our future. It was reminder of the significant role we play, as keepers of our history.
Community is our strength
At the festival, I was delighted to see performers from every culture and ethnicity you can imagine, as diverse as Melbourne itself. It brought me joy to see our community represented this way, to see that we celebrate as a community and that together we are stronger.
I was reminded of SMCT’s Centre for Care & Wellbeing, which has changed the role that cemeteries play within our communities by providing a haven for support, friendship and healing that extends beyond out customers, and out into the extended community. I felt affirmed that we are moving in the right direction.
Family is our purpose
Watching grandparents and grandchildren walking hand in hand, uncles, cousins, mothers and fathers, sharing in celebration, was a reminder of the significance of family, who bring purpose to our lives at every important event and milestone.
This is why SMCT supports families in marking their own place in history, providing important ways to record family stories, so that they may be cherished for generations to come.
The Year of the Rat is one to be adaptable, observant and intelligent. By continuing to learn from our Asian community on how we can play a role in keeping tradition, heritage and family alive for future generations we hope to do just that.
SMCT would like to thank Springvale Asian Business Association, in partnership with the City of Greater Dandenong and Victorian Multicultural Commission for organising a wonderful and memorable event, and for inviting SMCT to be a part of the celebration.
Have your say
We would love to hear your views on how SMCT can play a role in supporting our traditions and community. If you have any thoughts or ideas you would like to share, from the types of traditions that are most important to you, to the kind of programs we should consider at our Centre for Care & Wellbeing, please email us at Jennifer.Wang@smct.org.au.