Lantern festival to return


Tara Murray

The colours and celebrations of the lantern festival will return to St Alban’s Alfrieda Street Mall later this year.

The Australian Vietnamese Association’s (AVA) lantern festival will be held on September 25, after being cancelled last year due to COVID-19.

The AVA receiving a VicHealth grant to help run this year’s festival.

AVA’s Mai Nguyen said the grant would make a huge difference for the group.

“With the funding we can provide support to our volunteers, bringing volunteers back with the activities that they love,” she said.

“We can now re-engage the seniors to participate in the traditional festival that brings back their beautiful childhood memories, they can pass these on to the young generation who are born here.

“We can have the families back together and having fun via these traditional festivals.”

The festival will include stalls, lantern making workshops for children, children participating in traditional dancing and dragon dances.

Ms Nguyen said it was good to be having a festival again, with COVID-19 having a massive impact on the Vietnamese community.

“As most of our activities are performing art,” she said. “COVID has caused huge impact.

“Our performers can’t get together for dance workshops and there’s no shows with support directly from the audience.

“Connections have somehow been lost. Some members are trying to withdraw from online activities as they are not familiar with the technology and feel that it is too hard.

“Our group has been working extremely hard to maintain the mental health of the group, to keep the connection, to support each other.”

The Pasefika Hub in Sunshine and North Sunshine Tennis Club also received funding in this round of the VicHealth grants.