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Chinese New Year Celebrations in Sydney’s Chinatown

The celebrations of the Chinese New Year are known the world over for their colourful, dazzling displays and performances, nowhere more so than in Sydney. This year’s Chinese New Year will be celebrated in a 16-day festival taking place at locations throughout the city, from January 27th to February 12th.

2017 marks the 21st birthday of the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, which promises to be an extra-special celebration.

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The Year of the Rooster

The Chinese New Year is also known as the Lunar New Year, as it is based on the phases of the moon. Each year corresponds with an animal from the Chinese Zodiac. 2017 is the Year of the Rooster, which begins on January 28th. Those born under the sign of the Rooster tend to be very career-focused and are hardworking, outgoing and courageous.

Sydney’s Lunar Lanterns

This year’s Chinese New Year celebrations in Sydney will be illuminated by a series of 12 huge Lunar Lanterns up to 10 metres tall, each representing one of the animal signs of the Chinese Zodiac. The lanterns have been designed exclusively for the event by Asian-Australian artists, and they will line the waterfront at Circular Quay for the duration of the festival, beginning on January 27th.

The Pentatonic Rooster

In the heart of Chinatown on Dixon Street, the Year of the Rooster will be commemorated with the Pentatonic Rooster, which will stand in this location for the whole of the festival. This special lantern symbolises the continuity of Chinese traditions in the area, using music to tell the story of the Chinese community. Each part of the rooster’s body is a different Chinese instrument. Flutes, piccolos, panpipes and cymbals are played on this magnificent brightly-coloured bird, which has been specially designed for the festival by Beijing-born artist Tianli Zu, who now lives in Sydney. The Rooster’s music has been composed by her son Andrew.

Chinese Lion Dances

The Lion Dance, accompanied by red fire crackers, is probably the best-known tradition of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Lion Dances have been performed for over 1,000 years and are thought to bring good fortune and prosperity, while the fire crackers are intended to scare away the bad luck of the previous year.

This year’s Lion Dances can be seen in Sydney’s Chinatown on January 27th and various dates between the 2nd and 12th February. There will be two performances per night, at 6.00pm and 6.30pm. Additional daytime performances will be held on January 28th and February 5th.

Chinatown Markets

No Chinese New Year celebration would be complete without the chance to sample some delicious Chinese food, always an integral part of the Sydney festival. This year, Chinatown will come alive with the sights and smells of Asia each Friday evening during the festival celebrations. From 4.00pm to 11.00pm on January 27th, February 3rd and February 10th, Dixon Street and Little Hay Street will play host to the Chinatown Markets.

The Chinatown Markets, lit overhead with colourful Chinese lanterns and lights, recreate the ambience as well as the flavour of China. This atmospheric experience offers you the chance to sample a huge range of Asian cuisine at the various stalls. Yum Cha, Teppanyaki, Szechuan and Sushi will all be available for you to try, as well as plenty more. The Markets are an unmissable element of Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival, as they are a truly vibrant celebration of the Chinese community which is so integral to Sydney’s rich and varied culture.

With a wide selection of other events happening throughout the city during the festival, Sydney is definitely the place to be for this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations. 

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