GALLERY: Illawarra kids celebrate Chinese New Year

Blackbutt reserve was filled with dancing dragons, beating drums and some very enthusiastic children today as the Early Years Family Day Care celebrated Chinese New Year.

The youngsters were encouraged to dress in traditional costume and enjoy a feast of spring rolls and fried rice, while taking part in dancing, kite flying and other cultural activities.

Asian communities around the world, including those in Australia, will celebrate the Lunar New Year this weekend marking the start of the Year of the Snake.

The snake is the sixth sign of the Chinese zodiac and symbolises intuition, introspection, self-awareness and self-growth.

Oliver Ball meets the dancing dragon. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Oliver Ball meets the dancing dragon. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Four-year-old Shaun Jones tries on the dragons head. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Four-year-old Shaun Jones tries on the dragons head. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Two-year-old Summer Nisbet tries some fried rice. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Two-year-old Summer Nisbet tries some fried rice. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Kaden Drady, five, and Shaun Jones, three, try some Chinese food. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Kaden Drady, five, and Shaun Jones, three, try some Chinese food. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Two-year-old Bailee Lamount explores Chinese artifacts. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Two-year-old Bailee Lamount explores Chinese artifacts. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Thomas Nolan and Oliver Ball, both three, meet the dancing dragon controlled by Graham Smith. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Thomas Nolan and Oliver Ball, both three, meet the dancing dragon controlled by Graham Smith. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Anamaya Madrid, two, holds up a mini vase. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Anamaya Madrid, two, holds up a mini vase. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Oliver Ball plays the mini drum. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Oliver Ball plays the mini drum. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Chinese lanterns. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Chinese lanterns. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Four-year-old Jarra Parker-Hunt shows off her traditional dress. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Four-year-old Jarra Parker-Hunt shows off her traditional dress. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Lucy Hoskins, three, has fun with dancing and decorations. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Lucy Hoskins, three, has fun with dancing and decorations. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Two-year-old Macey Rowe in traditional dress. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI

Two-year-old Macey Rowe in traditional dress. Photos: ANDY ZAKELI