Above: The Shaanxi International Performance Arts Group will be among the many traditional Chinese performers in Sydney during the Chinese New Year Festival.
Australia Day’s not the only celebration on Aussie minds this week, with the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, playing a big part in our nation’s cultural mix.
This year’s New Year according to the Chinese Zodiac is the year of the Red Fire Chicken, and Friday night kicks off a two-week festival in Sydney from January 27 to February 12.
Circular Quay lights up with 12 enormous lunar lanterns shaped as animals from the signs of the Lunar Zodiac, that burst with colour by day and glow by night. Designed by Asian-Australian artists, the lunar lanterns reach up to 10 metres in height. Community groups will also give live performances around the quay.
City Filled with Food, Art, Lights and Music
Other attractions around the city include an interactive ‘Pentatonic Rooster’ lantern at Haymarket, colourful Chinese New Year Lanterns in Dixon Street, and lion dance performances.
Martin Place will be transformed into a 50-metre canopy of red lanterns, with a pop-up bar and Peking duck fries on offer, as well as music by DJs including Tikki Tembo, Beth Yen and Sasha Moon.
Sydney’s icons will be bathed in red light, including the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Town Hall and the State Library.
And at Pyrmont Bay Park there will be a pop-up festival of cuisine, in the form of the Lunar Markets offering food, outdoor bars and entertainment.
According to the folks at the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, one of the best ways to celebrate is to visit one of Sydney’s many Asian restaurants – including Malaysian, Singaporean and Korean – and try some signature dishes.
In honour of the year of the Red Fire Chicken, try some bul dak – “fire chicken” – a red-hot Korean dish that should be “approached with caution”.
Churches Celebrating Chinese New Year
Multicultural churches will get into the spirit, too, including Sydney International Christian Church at Millers Point in the CBD which has its annual Chinese New Year celebration service at 5:00pm on Sunday, January 29.
Other attractions around the city include exhibitions of craft, art, photography, workshops, a competition of master chefs in Battle of the Woks talks, and much more.