Gather your appetite for fantastic food, fireworks and a feast of every sense, because Chinese New Year celebrations are about to begin at a venue near you…
This year, the Chinese New Year (also known as the Lunar New Year by some) kicks off on January 25 in celebration of the Year of the Rat. Although rats may get a bad rep in today’s culture, the Chinese zodiac rat sign signifies success, quick wit and abundance. What better reason to get in on the action? Here’s the top places in Australia to celebrate Chinese New Year in style.
LUNAR NEW YEAR AT THE STAR
18 JANUARY to 9 FEBRUARY
The iconic Star Sydney is bringing in the 2020 Year of the Rat with a spectacular lineup of entertainment and menu additions. In fact, the venue anticipates guests will enjoy a whopping 7.3 tonnes of noodles, 30,848 dumplings, 7.4 tonnes of prawns and 480 kilograms of lobster throughout the CNY period.
If you’re keen to do your bit, there are a range of activities to get involved in.
Enjoy free entertainment in the Grand Foyer, with ribbon aerialist performances, stilt walkers, lion dancers and much more on offer. There’s also the 3.5 metre-lunar lantern installation on display at the harbourside entry.
Talking food, each of the famed upmarket Pyrmont restaurants – Sokyo, Flying Fish, BLACK Bar & Grill and CHUUKA – will have their own unique specials, so there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.
CHATSWOOD YEAR OF THE RAT FESTIVAL
20 JANUARY to 8 FEBRUARY
This summer, Sydneysiders and visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the sensational New Year festivities of Asia without leaving Sydney.
For its second year, Chatswood is hosting a three-week long cultural festival – Chatswood Year of the Rat Festival – from 20 January to the 8 February.
The festival will include a variety of cultural events and performances that will transport visitors to celebrations across China and other Asian destinations.
Get excited for the Golden Market, a traditional end-of-year food and fashion market, and the Lunar New Year Twilight Parade, a traditional Chinese New Year street parade.
Other highlights will include a public art display of 8,888 rat silhouettes along Chatswood’s Rat Attack trail, kung fu demonstrations, Chinese opera and a self-guided dumpling tour.
SYDNEY LUNAR FESTIVAL
25 JANUARY to 9 FEBRUARY
Sydney hosts the largest celebration of the Chinese New Year outside of Asia, with more than one million visitors expected to participate in events planned around the city.
Main attractions include the Lunar Lanterns festival, where the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac come to life in the form of a giant display of illuminated animals positioned around Circular Quay.
Start the tour of the lanterns from the Sydney Opera House, working your way around Circular Quay to the Rocks. Once you’ve seen the installations, stop for a shop and a nibble at The Rocks’ Lunar Markets.
FORTUNATE FEASTS IN SYDNEY
20 JANUARY – 9 FEBRUARY
Neil Perry’s modern Chinese restaurant Spice Temple will once again bring in the New Year with a nine-course banquet of auspicious dishes, utilising ingredients that promote wealth, health, happiness and good fortune.
Of the meal, available from 20 January to 9 February, executive chef Andy Evans says: “These are our most special dishes, which we save for a very special time of year…The menu features ingredients and dishes that bring good luck and fortune.”
Diners can expect Chinese dishes such as yu sheng (prosperity) salad, which brings you more luck the higher you toss the salad with your chopsticks, and pippies, which represent fortune (“I’ll have seconds of those please”).
DARLING HARBOUR DRAGON BOAT RACES, SYDNEY
Don’t miss the Darling Harbour dragon boat races, where participants race 12-metre-long boats to the tune of rhythmic drumming.
The dragon, a symbol of prosperity, belongs in the ocean and the clouds, and is said to control the rain, making this an important event practised by the Chinese for more than 2000 years.
LUNAR LANES IN HAYMARKET, SYDNEY
Haymarket’s Lunar Lanes markets kick off Sydney’s Chinese New Year festivities.
Red, gold and pink lanterns will be suspended in a glorious cloud of yellow light as dusk hits the city, making for a great photo opportunity. And don’t miss a traditional lion dance as well as several other Asian cultural performances.
CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL, MELBOURNE
24 JANUARY to 9 FEBRUARY
Melbourne’s Chinese New Year festival will see an array of colourful and cultural events take place: fireworks, light show performances, lion dances, hawker markets full of Chinese cuisine and a guaranteed abundance of noodles.
The festival spans 17 days and features a range of events that pay homage to the sounds, flavours and cultures of Asia.
LUNAR NEW YEAR DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL, MELBOURNE
Gear up for the Dragon Boat Regatta celebrated in Melbourne’s Docklands. With the same principle as the one in Sydney, this is an ancient festival dating back 2000 years, said to bring prosperity to the city.
There is an official race for regatta members and professional rowers, but this year also has an inclusive twist – any community group, company, group of friends or family are allowed to enter as a team to participate in this ancient tradition – making this a social event that can’t be missed.
FORTUNATE FEASTS IN MELBOURNE
20 JANUARY to 9 FEBRUARY
Spice Temple Melbourne is hosting a series of nine-course banquets to ring in the New Year. The banquets boast a bundle of glorious Chinese dishes: stir-fried wagyu brisket and lucky dumplings to bring money, roast sweet and sour pork belly to promote peace and praline caramel ice cream to improve your love life.
The saying goes that you are what you eat, which supports the very notion of this banquet – so make a booking to ensure a prosperous year.
THE MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL, CANBERRA
The Chinese New Year will have its due place in Canberra’s annual multicultural festival. Each day of the three-day festival will pay tribute to the Chinese holiday with performances, stalls with delicious Chinese cuisine and crafts, and decorations to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
FORTUNATE FEASTS IN CANBERRA
Chinese New Year is best experienced through food, with Chinese cuisine marking one of the most celebrated cuisines within Australia. Head to the Natural Nine at the Canberra Casino for a Chinese banquet (25 January) or Ruby Chinese Restaurant for its special menu of lucky holiday dishes (24 January).
LUNAR NEW YEAR FESTIVAL, HOBART
Held on Hobart’s Parliament House lawns by the Chinese Community Association of Tasmania between 10 am and 4pm on January 27, this festival is full of activities to ring in the Chinese New Year.
Expect live entertainment, Asian food stalls, cultural activities, a kid’s “panda” zone and more.
LUNAR NEW YEAR STREET PARTY, ADELAIDE
The 17th Lunar New Year street party promises to paint Adelaide’s Chinatown red in a celebration of the east. Stalls are heading to the streets full of everything Chinese: food, crafts and culture. Expect lanterns, drumming, on-stage performances, lion and dragon dances and fire crackers.
CHINESE NEW YEAR CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT
The Adelaide Festival Centre presents a fusion of traditional Chinese instruments and Western musical elements to aptly celebrate the Lunar New Year in Australia. Get lost in the hypnotic strumming of the guzheng, erhu and ruan (a Chinese harp, violin and guitar, respectively) and enjoy the ceremonial percussion of a stage full of Chinese drums.
CHINESE NEW YEAR FAIR, PERTH
The Chinese New Year Fair is an on-street celebration of the east in Northbridge and it promises to kick off with firecrackers and proceed with stalls, food, craft and dancing for the ninth year in a row. What it offers, that other states celebrations do not, is a collection of rides that transform this celebration into a cultural experience/funfair hybrid.
FORTUNATE FEASTS IN PERTH
During the entirety of the Chinese New Year from January 25, Fortune Five Chinese Restaurant in Perth will be serving delicious banquets for groups of eight or 10. So gather a few of your pals to sink your teeth into some almond chicken stuffed with seafood, scallops with snow peas and mango sago dessert.
CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL, CAIRNS
25 JANUARY to 7 FEBRUARY
For three weeks, hip and happening Grafton Street in Cairns will be transformed into ‘little Chinatown’ for the Lunar New Year. Some 15,000 visitors are expected to visit the city in Tropical North Queensland to witness the vibrant street festival, which ends with a magical firework display.
Ensure your view of the fireworks via helicopter ride or a Chinese New Year hot air balloon tour in order to make the Year of the Rat one to remember.
LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION, BRISBANE
Colourful entertainment, Chinese food stalls and cultural workshops are only some of the things on offer at this year’s BrisAsia Festival’s Lunar New Year celebration. Hosted in Fortitude Valley’s Chinatown Mall, events will include lion and dragon dances, fire shows, interactive workshops and roving street performers.
LUNAR NEW YEAR AT THE STAR GOLD COAST
22 JANUARY to 9 FEBRUARY
If you’ve frequented any of The Star Entertainment Group venues, you’ll be well aware that they love any excuse to celebrate, and Lunar New Year is no exception…
This January, the celebrations are lining up, with a carnival of festivities set to take over the Gold Coast. The Star Gold Coast will come alive as the venue celebrates the Year of the Rat with stunning festive theming and entertainment, unforgettable banquets and unique dishes that will feature across The Star’s signature dining destinations and bespoke events.
The Star’s Mei Wei dumpling eatery will feature special New Year cakes and its dim sum restaurant, Imperial, will step up its game with both traditional favourites and more exotic flavours such as abalone and lobster.