How Sydney Celebrates the Chinese New Year Festival
2 February 2016
The Sydney Chinese New Year Festival runs every year. This year will see the 20th anniversary of such a celebration, and 2016 sees in the Year of the Monkey. Starting as just a small event with little recognition, the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival is now one of the biggest Lunar New Year celebrations held outside of china. Each year sees the excitement, colour, and creativity of the new year celebrations, and this year is no different.
With over 70 events being held in the heart of Sydney to celebrate, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Here are just some of the highlights.
12 incredible lanterns will be lighting up parts of the city to help you on a guided tour through Sydney. All 12 lanterns represent one of the zodiac animals and are bound to make you and the whole family smile. They’ll be strung in various locations around the city between 6-14 February.
The Monkey Sydney Opera House
See the main attraction of The Monkey with the Sydney Opera House as its background.
The Rabbit Customs House Square
Those born in the Year of the Rabbit are often friendly, outgoing, and prefer the company of others. Take yourself along with some friends to Customs House Square and see the Rabbit styled lantern. You may even see a surprise or two involving rabbits practicing Tai Chi.
The Dragon Dawes Point
Situated at Dawes Point with the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the beautiful background, the Dragon is often a symbol of good fortune and intense power.
The Ox Martin Place and Macquarie Street
A sense of calm will be established within the bustling area of Martin Place, where the Ox will be situated. Made up of hundreds of illuminated Mahjong tiles, this one is definitely worth a look.
The Tiger QVB Forecourt
If you’re looking for a tiger with a difference, the forecourt of the Queen Victoria Building will have a spectacular display. The magnificent Tiger will surely reflect the qualities of the tiger – brave, competitive, and self-confident.
The Horse Hyde Park
Those born in the Year of the Horse are often active, energetic, and highly animated. They love a bit of attention and being surrounded by a crowd. Find the Horse lantern at Hyde Park.
The Rooster Hyde Park
This particular lantern has a very Australian twist to it, which definitely showcases the Australian culture blended with the Chinese New Year celebrations in the best way possible.
The Rat Hyde Park
Often looked at in a negative way, the Rat is actually held in high regard within the Chinese Zodiac. It’s also why it’s in prime position here at Hyde Park.
Chinatown and Haymarket Lanterns
The Goat Chinatown
The spectacular Goat lantern has been brought in from our sister-city, Guangzhou in southern China. This will be the 30th anniversary of our two cities’ relationship, and the Goat will have a warm and welcoming place in Sydney’s Chinatown district.
The Snake Chinatown
Looking closer at the Snake lantern, you’ll see how it was inspired by the ancient Chinese art of basket making. Reminding us of a snake charmer’s basket, it is definitely a beautiful sight to catch.
The Dog Chinatown
Just like the real thing, the Dog lantern is playful and cute. Utilising Chinese fabrics, this piece is sure to leave everyone feeling happy and friendly around the Dog.
The Pig Pitt Street
The Pig often has a motherly nature, and this has inspired the works of the Pig lantern this year. The Pig is known for being diligent and generous, and this lantern Pig and piglets displays this well.
Dragon Boat Races
If you want to watch some exciting sports on the water, you definitely need to go and see the Dragon Boat Races. 3,000 paddlers will make their way to the water to provide exciting races for everyone to see and watch. The 12 metre long boats compete on the water to the pounding of drums and cheers coming from the spectator stand. Head down to Cockle Bay Wharf between 9am and 3pm on the 20th and 21st of February to catch this incredible race.
Bring in the New Year with great food, drink, music, and entertainment at the Lunar Markets. Held at Pyrmont Bay Park over 11 nights, the Lunar Markets are full of beautiful sights, sounds, and tastes to please all of the senses. The Lunar Markets is almost a pop-up food festival filled with Asian cuisine and culture. It’s definitely a must-visit attraction during New Year celebrations.
Chinese Tea Appreciation workshop and Yum Cha
If you’ve never experienced Chinese teas, then now is a great opportunity to try them out in the best way possible. From green, red, white, and oolong, you can taste and indulge in a variety of Chinese teas in the most authentic way possible. Here, you’ll learn how to appreciate the different styles of Chinese teas. You can also enjoy a degustation-style session paired with some Yum Cha favourites. Held at Zensation Tea House in Redfern, the event will be held on 6th February and cost $50 per adult.
Chinatown Lion Dance
One of the most exciting experiences of the Chinese New Year is seeing the colourful display of the dancing lions filling the streets. The lion dancers will provide a brilliant show for everyone to watch and enjoy. Grab a bite to eat in Chinatown while you’re there and experience the wonderful sounds and sights of the traditional dance. You can catch the Lion Dance, by a range of martial artists and performers, on various dates in Haymarket.