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 2019
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 Pig start as early as the last week in January, here are some of the highlights:
The Lunar Spectacular Show, a Community Performance Program
A celebration of culture, community and friendship... This is a one-hour spectacular, featuring the best performances from the various community groups showcasing traditional Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai and Indonesian dancing, Korean drumming, Japanese hip hop, the Chinese New Year Festival Dancers and stilt walking.
When: Friday to Sunday February 1, 2, 3, 2019 - 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Where: First Fleet Park Outdoor Stage in The Rocks
How Much: FREE!
More Info: Community Performance Program
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 2019
When: February 1 - 10, 2019 - Fridays to Sundays, 6pm to 6.45pm
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 Dawes Point.
In addition, this year there is a special Year of the Pig Lantern by artist Qian Jian Hua (Justin) and you can find it by the western boardwalk of the Sydney Opera House.
Sydney Lunar New Year Lanterns 2019
When: February 1 - 10, 2019 - Every Day, All Day
Where: Circular Quay from the Opera House to Dawes Point.
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 2019
When: Saturday and Sunday February 9 -10, 2019 - Saturday 8:00am to 5:00 pm, Sunday 8:30am to 3:00pm
Where: Cockle Bay Wharf in Darling Harbour
How Much: FREE
More Info: Dragon Boats NSW, and 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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