By Su Myat Sandy
YANGON, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Roadside stalls in Yangon's Chinatown are fraught with bustle and hustle as the traditional Chinese new year, or spring festival, is approaching.
Festive food featuring year of snake, including snake-shaped cakes, biscuits, glutinous rice snacks and decoration materials such as red lanterns and antithetical couplets are among the best sellers at shops in the Chinatown.
"Many customers come and buy Chinese new year decorations from our shop day and night. Sale volume is bigger and bigger day by day as the new year festival, which falls on Feb.10, comes close," said the shop owner.
Homes of Myanmar-Chinese were busy decorating their houses with red-color paper-cuts and Chinese couplets hung on doors and walls as a sign of anticipating good fortune and happiness in the new year.
Days ahead of the new year, joyful children, in small groups, beat up their minor drums to match their small lion dance performances on streets as rehearsal in preparation to make house- to-house call when new year days comes.
An event organizer said a festive procession by 21 local Myanmar-Chinese amateur lion and dragon dancing groups in the Chinatown will spark Yangon's new year activities on Saturday afternoon, the eve of the new year according to Chinese calendar.
A series of lion dance competitions, involving the 21 amateur lion dancing groups, are to take place in the heart of Chinatown and the contests will run from the second day of the new calendar year for three consecutive nights until next Wednesday and a prize presentation ceremony for winning lion dancing groups will be held on next Thursday when they will repeat their excellent performances, he said.
The three-day competitions include ground dancing and on-table dancing, he added.
Other dragon dance groups are also preparing to launch performances on invitation at some designated Chinese temples, international schools and famous parks respectively.
At a time when the lunar new year is drawing near, the Myanmar- Chinese community launched traditional charity activities with several social and religious organizations distributing cash aid to poor old-aged people above 75 years of age with no children to care for them.
Other local Chinese cultural associations are now also making preparations in full swing for celebrating the traditional spring festival, conducting rehearsals of their musical and dancing programs to be presented at their respective cultural shows around the new year days.
A big carol singing group, organized by the community dignitaries, is leading in staging performances with songs and dances on the first day of the new calendar year.
Traditionally, children are dressed in new clothes and offered red-envelop "Hongbao" as pocket money. Myanmar-Chinese family members used to spend the new year eve by staying up late or all night to observe the moment of changing to a new calendar year.