It's the year of the dog since about five and a half hours ago. At least if you think the Chinese New Year begins at midnight in China. I watched some of the gala event on CCTV over the web but didn't understand a word of it :o)
There was something about picking out names for a couple of pandas too.. I'm not sure what the deal was with that. There was a competition on the website to vote on names for them and if you picked the name which was the most popular then you go into a draw for tickets for the 2008 Olympics. A friend of mine correctly predicted that names (团团 and 圆圆) which were close to the word for "reunification" (团圆 - or is it "reunion"?) would be the most popular, and they were. So now she's in the draw for free Olympics tickets! Guess the Chinese public are keen on bringing Taiwan back into the fold :o)
In previous years there were fairly big Chinese New Year events in Dublin but this year they couldn't get funding so only a few limited events at various venues are on instead. It seems not enough resources from the Chinese community in Ireland were committed to the event in previous years and the council was bearing the organisational burden which is a pity since I can imagine the event would have been even better and more "authentic" if it was organised and run by the community rather than a government department.
I guess the Chinese New Year is more of a family event (as far as my limited knowledge of Chinese New Year goes) so the immigrant community aren't really that interested in going to the trouble of organising stuff to commemorate it?