Benjamin Millar

Crowds gather around another dragon. Click for more photos

Time of the Snake

Crowds gather around another dragon.

  • Crowds gather around another dragon.
  • Dragons galore roam the streets.
  • Crowds in Chinatown for the celebrations.
  • Chinese New Year celebration in Chinatown, Melbourne.
  • Chinese New Year celebration in Chinatown.
  • Chinese New Year celebration in Chinatown.
  • Chinese New Year celebration in Chinatown.
  • Chinese New Year celebration in Chinatown.

CHINESE New Year arrived with a bang on Sunday as thousands of revellers joined in celebrations that transformed Melbourne's Chinatown.

Streets erupted in a blaze of colour and noise as the traditional awakening of the dragon ceremony welcomed in the Year of the Snake.

Chinese dragons and lions danced down Little Bourke Street amid the roar of firecrackers, lit to drive away evil spirits.

Watching the parade with his daughter Ashleigh, Kar Yeo said the Chinatown festivities are the only place in Melbourne to truly experience the excitement of Chinese New Year.

''We moved here from Singapore four years ago and we come every year,'' he said.

''This is a really festive atmosphere and it's great to bring my daughter so she can enjoy it all.''

Roy Meikle, visiting with his Chinese wife and her family, said the day had a great vibe.

''We've just been watching the dragon and the lion dances, it's really good for Melbourne to have this insight into Chinese culture,'' he said.

The day marked the end of week-long celebrations in Melbourne's Chinese community.