Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year, falls on January 22 this year and celebrations are on in full swing. People around the world will be participating in the hopes of ushering in some good luck and prosperity. Sydney is also embracing the spirit of the season with a spectacular celebration lined up. Lion dances, festive feasts, traditional ceremonies, live music, themed food and so much more will take over the city’s streets in the coming weeks. Find here 12 exciting ways you can celebrate the Lunar New Year and take part in the festivities happening around Sydney.
1. Visit Haymarket for the Sydney Lunar Festival
The Sydney Lunar Festival is set to take over Haymarket for 17 days filled with events and activations. Expect roving performers and lion dancers along with delicious street food in the area. There will also be live entertainment in the form of dragon boats over at Darling Harbour on January 28-29. The event wraps up the 2023 season with the Lunar Spectacular Show at Town Hall on Saturday, February 4 with a number of Asian communities participating. Sydney Lunar Festival kicks off on Saturday, January 21 until Sunday, February 5, 2023.
2. Take in some public art at Darling Square
Once you’ve had your fill of fun at Haymarket, take a detour to Darling Square which is also leaving no stone unturned for Lunar New Year this year. The celebrations at the buzzy neighbourhood are all about art, music and food. Find murals of the 12 animals of the Zodiac, interpreted through the modern lens of Asian graphic novels by Sydney-based artist Chris Lee or dance to live music by local DJs every Friday from 5-9pm. A number of local eateries are also participating with themed food items including Lunar New Year donuts, fiery Hoisin wings and sesame mochi basque cheesecake among others. The celebrations at Darling Square start from 21 January to 5 February.
3. Explore Chatswood’s Year of the Rabbit Festival
Chatswood’s Year of the Rabbit featival features a vibrant program filled with art, comedy shows, music, live performances and lots of really good food. There’s heaps on the menu including a Rabbit Sculpture Trail which will feature eight large-scale inflatable rabbits sitting pretty across Chatswood’s CBD. Clear out your calendar and prepare for some knee-slapping laughter with the Lunar New Year Comedy Festival on Saturday, January 28. A family-friendly and free outdoor concert event follows suit on Sunday, January 29 with Symphony in the Park. There’s also painting workshops, stalls selling flowers and delicious Asian food throughout the neighbourhood. If you’re a newbie expeirencing Lunar New Year for the first time, Chatswood is the place to go to. Find all the details here.
4. Celebrate Lunar New Year at The Rocks
From January 21 to February 5, The Rocks’ cobblestone streets will come alive with a huge celebration to mark the Chinese New Year. Restaurants will be serving up noodles, sweet treats and dumplings among a whole host of Asian delicacies while roaming lion dancers make their way through the crowd. You can also look forward to a cosy Lunar New Year edition of cinema under the stars. This time it’s a screening of Crazy Rich Asians which is always a good time. For everything else that’s happening at The Rocks click here and get planning.
5. Vibe to Symphony Under the Stars
One of Sydney Festival’s most popular fixtures is returning to Parramatta. This iteration comes with a Lunar New Year twist and features music from Tan Dun along with Chinese folk favourites. The free outdoor concert comes to Parramatta Park on Saturday, January 21 and it’s completely free for all. Led by celebrated conductor Benjamin Northey, the alfresco event features popular film music and symphonic masterpieces with a fireworks finale.
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6. Be amazed by the Milan Ring concert in Chatswood
Chatswood takes its Lunar New Year celebrations very seriously as evidenced by its huge Year of the Rabbit festival. But that’s not the only thing taking over this vibrant party of Sydney. Singer-songwriter, rapper-guitarist, and R&B producer Milan Ring, will take to the stage on Friday, February 10 for a dazzling one-off concert. Joining her on stage are two of Australia’s most recognised Asian-Australian artists, Yeo and Rainbow Chan. Dance to Australian R&B, electronic and hip hop sounds and enjoy a lion dance performance at the exclusive event. Grab your tickets for Milan Ring’s concert.
7. Watch a jet pack water show in Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour comes to life this Lunar New Year with a number of epic festivities. Along with lion dancing and the much-hyped dragon boat races, thrilling jet pack water shows are coming to Cockle Bay. Performers will fly sky high over the water, propelled by jet packs and dressed in Lunar New Year themed costumes. The jet pack water shows will be paired with a stunning fireworks display on January 22, 28 and 29 and February 4 and 5. For a bite to eat, head down to the Chinese Garden of Friendship and get immersed in Chinese culture with glowing lanterns, tea ceremonies, calligraphy demonstrations and Astrology readings.
8. Spend the day at Lunar Lanes
If you love Asian cuisine, Haymarket is the place to go to. Although it’s always buzzing with activities, shopping and food, it packs a real punch this time of year. The beloved Lunar Lanes Festival on Saturday, January 21 will see everything from lion dancers to roving performers and pop-up food trucks. The streets of Haymarket will transform into a hive of activity with performers from the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Taiwanese and Japanese diaspora. Find all the info here.
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10. Ring in the Lunar New Year at World Square
From Wednesday, January 18 to Sunday, February 12 , World Square is getting decked up for a giant Lunar New Year party. Expect nearly five weeks of entertainment, music, exciting food pop-ups, shopping deals and lion dancing. Entry is free of cost and the centre promises a fun, family-friendly experience for all. There’s also prizes to be won with an AUD200 World Square shopping voucher up for grabs every week.
10. Dive into Spice Temple’s auspicious menu
In the spirit of the season, popular Chinese restaurant Spice Temple is bringing a feast of auspicious dishes to town. Menu items include purse-shaped pipis representing fortune, eggs that signify fertility, dumplings shaped like money to represent wealth, and red ingredients that stand for prosperity and happiness. Classic dishes like the prosperity salad, pork ribs and stir-fried noodles will also feature on the menu. The Lunar New Year banquets are available in Sydney until Saturday, 28 January.
11. Treat yourself at Novotel Sydney
If you’re after a staycation this festive season, Novotel Sydney Central has the goods. The resort is slinging a special package which includes overnight accomodation, Lunar New Year-inspired cocktails and food and free breakfast for kids. Plus it’s located in close proximity to Haymarket and Chinatown which is where all the action is going down. Find parades, art installations and food markets just a stone’s throw away from the venue.
12. Take part in Eastwood’s Lunar New Year activations
The quiet suburb of Eastwood tends to fly under the radar but it’s a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Asian food offerings. For Lunar New Year this year, you can find a variety of stalls, food trucks and amusement rides at Eastwood Oval on Saturday, February 4 from 3pm to 9pm. A rousing fireworks display will round off the celebrations. Find all the details here.