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How to celebrate Lunar New Year in Sydney

Each year the Lunar New Year celebration in Sydney seem to get bigger, they are now said to be one of the biggest outside Asia.  Aussies love a party, and with many of our residents having Chinese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese ancestry it’s no surprise we there are more than 80 events across the city.

2019 is the year of the Earth Pig which in Chinese astrology is said to be a positive year with a balance of good fortune, wealth and fun.  While Lunar New Year actually falls on Tuesday 5 February, the festivities run from Jan 29 to Mid-February. So read on and find an event to enjoy.

Lunar New Year in Sydney – Sydney CBD events

Looking for the best places to celebrate the Year of the Pig. Look no further; celebrations will run from Feb 1st to at least the 15th and are spread across the city from the Quay to Chinatown, Chatswood to Cabramatta. There is something for everyone, and best of all most of it is free!

Harbour Foreshore Lunar Lanterns

A local favourite is the Lunar Lanterns display which will line the Harbour foreshore for just ten days from Feb 1-10. The area will be home to 12 large colourful lanterns, 4 of which are new for 2019.  Check out the map here and snap a photo with your lantern.

Horse Lanern Sydney Lunar New Year
The Horse Lantern that first appeared in 2016

The pig (pictured at the top of the page) will take pride of place outside the Opera House, and the Harbour Bridge will be lit in shades of pink and red each night for the duration.  You can also download the free Culture Walks app and follow their tour.

The Rocks Lunar Spectacular

The Rocks, Lunar Spectacular Show will take over First Fleet Park in the Rocks from 5 pm – 9 pm on Saturday 9 February. Music and Dance performances from community groups representing Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese.

Rocks Lunar Market

If your idea of celebrating the Year of the pig includes eating sweet treats then you best head for the Lunar Market at The Rocks where you can find Pig shaped candy floss.  From 10 am on 8-10  February Playfair Street, George Street and Jack Mundey Place will be filled with stalls, lanterns and plenty of Asian inspired eats. Lion dancers will entertain at 1 pm and 7  pm each day.  The market will run from 10 am to 10 pm each day.

Chinese New Year Lantern Festival – Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour Lanterns 2018

From its base in Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour, The Chinese New Year Lantern Festival, not to be confused with the lanterns across the CBD, will run from the 14th till the 18th of February. The festival will host a spectacular Lantern display with what is said to be the most impressive collection of lanterns outside of Asia.
The lanterns will span over  9000 square metres with the main attraction, a lantern display which will go right across Darling Harbour’s Tumbalong Park representing the Great Wall of China.

Along with the light show, there will be 60 shows, 60 food stalls, and lots of colour!  Check the schedule of events and plan your visit.

Dragon Boat Races in Cockle Bay

Another hugely popular event is the Darling Harbour Dragon Boat Races that sees over 3000 paddlers racing along Cockle Bay with over 100 races.  Catch the action from 8 am Sat 9th, and 9 am Sunday 10th September, check the full program for times.

Kensington Street – Wine, Dine and Swine

Kensington Street Lunar New Year

Head to Kensington Street on  Saturday 9th of February from 3 pm – 8 pm to join in the fun with this action-packed event. Lion dancing, a piglet petting zoo, DJs, and a variety of workshops showcasing lantern making, origami and calligraphy.

For a bit of fun don’t miss Pigs and Pinot, the ultimate match for animal and wine lovers. For a small donation, the team from Handpicked Wines Urban Cellar Door will take you through a tasting flight of their wines while you hug a hog. All donations will be directly gifted to an animal welfare charity.

Lucky Red Envelope treasure hunt Sydney

Keep your eye out for paper cuts of pigs hidden around the area – these contain the best prizes with vouchers up to $500 from Spice Alley. Check the details for all the Kensington Street fun here.

Flying Pig Chandelier

Sitting high about Pitt Street Mall is a golden chandelier of flying pigs 

QVB Wishing Tree

QVB Lunar New Year Peach Blossom Tree
The Peach Blossom Tree

The Peach Blossom Wishing Tree has replaced the Christmas tree at the QVB this month. Standing 6 metres tall with a span of 4 metres, and covered with hundreds of tiny felt piglets for blossoms you are invited to sit and make your new year wish. Just write your wish on a card and head to the Level 2 Wishing Station where you can add your wish.  There is also a few calligraphy services running Thurs-Sun where you can collect a LNY piglet print to take home.

Lunar New Year at Sydney Fish Market

Laterns at the Sydney Fish Market Lunar festival
Outdoor dining at the Sydney Fish Market – Photo credit: Sydney Fish Market

After a successful launch last year the Lunar New Year Twilight Dining will return to the Fish Market on Friday 8 February.  Not usually open for evening dining the event will run from  4.00pm – 10.00pm and feature a Lion Dance performance at 6.30pm and lucky red envelopes will be handed out. After sunset, an impressive laser light show will be projected onsite. Dine on yum cha or seafood at the onsite restaurants or grab some takeaway and head to the waterside tables.

Lunar New Year events in the Suburbs

Parramatta Lunar Festival

Parramatta Lunar Festival

With a focus on music and food, the Parramatta LNY Festival on Sunday, 15 February looks like it will be enormous fun.  MC Andy Trieu from SBS’s PopAsia will host a live stage featuring Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean traditional performances and finishing up with a K-pop showcase.  The fun starts at 5 pm in Centenary Square Parramatta

Fireworks: Enjoy the spectacular fireworks show, at 9.30pm.

Chatswood Year of the Pig Festival

The most extended celebration in the city, the Chatswood Year of the Pig festival will run for three weeks from January 29 to February 19. Thirty-five Market stalls line Chatwood Mall selling food, drinks and Chinese goods.  There are a couple of key events here including Celebration Day on 9 Feb and the Lunar New Year Twilight Parade of floats and dragon dancing on 16 Feb.

Cabramatta Lunar New Year Festival

Cabramatta is home to Sydney’s Vietnamese community and a fantastic spot to visit year-round however on the weekend of 16 &  17 February


Heaven and Earth in Chinese art – Art Gallery of NSW

This exhibition of treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei will fun from 1 February to 5 May. With artwork rarely seen outside Taipei, the show includes 80 works from paintings, calligraphy, illustrated books, bronzes, ceramics, jade and wood carvings.  Tickets $18

Tea Ceremony – Art Gallery of NSW

Check out a free performance from Topotea tea masters. Observe a tea ceremony in action and learn about the etiquette and art of drinking tea.  Runs from 11-2pm in the entrance forecourt of the gallery on Sunday 9 February.

See the full range of AGNSW Lunar New Year events

Special Lunar New Year Menus in Sydney

Calyx at the Royal Botanic Gardens – Dumplings and buns galore at the Calyx Friday 1 -10 February

Cruise Bar – Lunar New Year menu will be available from February 1-10 with a  3-course meal with matching wines
$69 for a 3-course dinner, no wine $45 p.p. (vegetarian choices available)

Cafe Opera – The Intercontinental Hotel will present a Chinese inspired buffet two options are on offer, with a deluxe seafood offering on the weekend and a non-seafood option Sunday to Thursday. $79/$89 per person.

Koi – Kensington Street has added two special treats to their menu, Prosper: a cake featuring gold chocolate mousse, Frangelico ganache, vanilla caramel and hazelnut crisp and Lucky Velvet with red velvet sponge, raspberry cream cheese, hibiscus compote, dried rose and lychee.

Hacienda Sydney – A Chilli tea cocktail is waiting to test your taste buds at Hacienda on East Circular Quay.

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