Our friends Down-Under celebrate in grand style. In fact, Chinese New Year is more than a celebration, it's a tradition that keeps getting better and better! The festivities that originally started in Chinatown have now extended to Sydney Harbour and beyond.
Sydney celebrates with over 80 events across the city as the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge dress in red for the occasion and bright colorful lanterns pop up all over the land.
Sydney's Chinese New Year Festival is one of the biggest celebrations outside of China and runs for a couple of weeks with Lunar Markets, Pop Up Food Festivals, Lion Dances, and even Dragon Boat Racing on the last weekend of the Festival.
Other signature events have in the past included Sydney's Iconic Chinese New Year Twilight Parade and of course the Fireworks over the Harbour.
Sydney Chinese New Year Highlight Events 2020
For the Lunar New Year, Sydney typically "Paints The Town Red" when famous landmarks are lit in auspicious red.
Normally included are the iconic Sydney landmarks such as the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay Station, Sydney Town Hall and many others.
Sadly, one of the most anticipated events, Sydney's iconic Chinese New Year Twilight Parade has been cancelled due to the Light Rail construction project affecting George Street, the main thoroughfare of the Parade in years past.
But, not to fret, there's still lots going on, this Lunar New Year will be as outstanding as ever.
Events to welcome the Year of the Rat start as early as the last week in January, here are some of the highlights:
Lunar Lanes - Haymarket Street Party
Not to be missed, Lunar Lanes is the launch event of Sydney Lunar Festival 2020. The new event will transform the bustling laneways of Haymarket into an exciting street party with real community spirit on Lunar New Year's Day.
The streets of Chinatown will buzz with live entertainment, roving performers, face painting, kids craft activities, classic carnival games and a spectacular fireworks display after dark.
When: Saturday January 25, 2020 - 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Chinatown, Dixon Street, Haymarket
How Much: FREE!
More Info: Lunar Lanes Haymarket Street Party
Chinatown Celebrations and Lion Dances
On a normal day, Sydney's Chinatown is a whirlwind of shops, eateries, markets and a fantastic place to walk around and soak in the atmosphere, grab a bite to eat, and get a few trinkets. Come Chinese New Year, Chinatown goes all out and a festive vibe surrounds the streets as red lanterns decorate every corner, dancing lions pop here and there and locals prepare for the most important festival in the Asian calendar.
Sydney Chinatown Chinese New Year Lion Dances 2020
When: Several dates January 31 - February 9, 2020
Corner of Thomas Street/Ultimo Road every Friday and Sunday
Dixon Street Mall on Saturdays during the festival
Where: Sydney Chinatown, Dixon Street, Haymarket
How Much: FREE!
More Info, Directions, Parking, etc.: Chinatown Lion Dances
Lunar New Year Lantern Exhibition
This is a stunning exhibition of twelve vibrant Lanterns designed by Australian Chinese artists each representing one of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac. Some are as tall as 10 meters high and are lit up every day at dusk.
They are located in Circular Quay and make for a magnificent walk as you trail from the Sydney Opera House to The Rocks.
In addition, this year there is a special Year of the Rat display by Claudia Chan Shaw, a spectacular tower of 9 gold metallic, animatronic rats and you will find this at The Rocks.
Sydney Lunar New Year Lanterns 2020
When: January 31 - February 9, 2020 - Every Day, All Day
Where: Circular Quay from the Opera House to The Rocks
How Much: FREE!
More Info and Performance Programs: Sydney Lunar Lanterns.
Sydney Chinese New Year Dragon Boat Races
Dragon Boat Races are exciting events and a Chinese tradition that dates from ancient times. Teams of paddlers race the long narrow boats to the beat of the drum down to the finish line on the final weekend of the festival in what is probably the largest dragon boat event in the southern hemisphere with over 3,000 paddlers participating. This is a full day of activities with Lion Dances, Drumming Performances and God Of Wealth appearances throughout both days.
Sydney Chinese New Year Dragon Boat Races 2020
When: Saturday and Sunday February 1 - 2, 2020 - 8:30am
Where: Cockle Bay Wharf in Darling Harbour
How Much: FREE
More Info: City of Sydney.
Sydney Chinese New Year Twilight Parade
Important: The Sydney Chinese New Year Twilight Parade has been cancelled due to the Light Rail construction project affecting George Street, the main thoroughfare of the Parade.
The Sydney Chinese New Year Twilight Parade has been one of the most anticipated events, with thousands of performers, lion dancers, drummers, marching bands, dragons, acrobats... 2016 saw the final year of the parade, which has been cancelled due to the Light Rail project now in progress affecting George Street and the CBD. Whether this is a temporary measure is not known at the moment. We are hoping they bring the parade back after completion of the project.
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You can decorate easily with traditional or battery-operated lanterns, paper cuttings, lucky coins and banners to add a splash to the celebrations!
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