Society is built around tradition. We celebrate Christmas, New Year, Easter, Australia Day and Anzac Day because of some sort of tradition or practice in honour of someone, something, customs or beliefs. Being one of the oldest cultures in the world, the Chinese culture is noted for being traditional and one of the biggest traditions that the Chinese culture has is the celebration of Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, is an annual celebration where Chinese families pay respect to their ancestors, thank the gods for good life, pray for good fortune and gather for a reunion dinner. This year Chinese New Year is the 5th of February, and we are celebrating the Year of the Earth Pig.
2019 is the Year of the Earth Pig, which symbolises fortune and wealth. The pig is the twelfth in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac signs. It may be the last zodiac of the lunar cycle but it has a beautiful personality and their chubby faces and big ears are signs of fortune.
Pigs may not stand out in the crowd but they are very realistic! Others may be all talk and no action but pigs are the opposite. They love entertainment and will occasionally treat themselves. They are a little materialistic, but this is their motivation to work hard. They are energetic and always enthusiastic.
This year is all about the Earth Pigs, which are social butterflies with friends from all walks of life. They have a lot of support in both work and life.
Traditionally, Chinese communities from around the world close down businesses, streets and parks to make room for brilliant parades of dancing dragons, acrobatics, Chinese lanterns and fireworks, along with the beating of dozens of Tanggus (Chinese drums). Families flock to the streets to witness the grand parades prepared by their communities, while some take to the temples to bring offerings of prayer and food to their gods, ancestors and deceased loved-ones.
New Year’s Eve is then celebrated with an exceptional feats of traditional Chinese meat dishes, hotpot, vegetables and noodles to symbolise longevity and round-shaped fruits to symbolise the shape of coins. On the strike of midnight, traditional Chinese families then greet the new year by eating dumplings or glutinous new year cake.
Some of these traditions are observed in other countries but have been modernised to adjust to different demographics. Sydney, being a basin of diverse culture, is not a step behind and forges in presenting a rather exciting yet traditional series of events in the celebration of the Chinese New Year.
If you are looking for some fun this Chinese New Year, check out this list for events happening across Sydney.
Explore the Lunar Lanterns from Friday 1 February to Sunday 10 February
Take a short stroll around Circular Quay from Sydney Opera House to The Rocks to discover 13 larger-than-life animal signs of the Lunar zodiac.
Find your zodiac signs, catch a live performance by the community groups or simply enjoy summer in Sydney in a unique celebration of the Lunar New Year.
When:?1st to 10th February
Where:?Circular Quay, Sydney
Enjoy A Culinary Journey at The AYAM Hub
As part of Sydney’s hoard of 2019 Lunar New Year celebrations, Australia’s most iconic Asian food brand – AYAM – will be offering festival-goers the chance to embark on an inspiring culinary journey.
The AYAM Hub will feature the brand’s famous Zodiac Roulette Tuk Tuk and legendary food truck, making it the ultimate spot to enjoy great food, entertainment and the beautiful lantern displays.
When: 1st and 2nd February, 4pm-11pm and 3rd, 9th and 10th February, 12pm-7pm
Where:?Circular Quay and China Town
Lunar Spectacular Show
These free performances will run over three big nights.
This Lunar New Year, community groups will get the chance to perform traditional and contemporary pieces in a series of free performances.
Head to the outdoor stage near the Overseas Passenger Terminal to see Japanese drumming, K-pop, and Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Korean and Vietnamese dancers.
When:?1st to 3rd February 2019, 7pm – 9pm
Where:?Overseas Passenger Terminal – 130 Argyle Street, The Rocks
Lunar New Year Festival at Hurstville
Follow the colourful parade and cheer in the Year of the Earth Pig!
When you catch sight of pig floats and lion dancers waltzing down Forest Road, you know you are in the right place for Hurstville’s Lunar New Year Festival.
This huge annual celebration sees more than 50,000 visitors flock to the centre of this South Sydney suburb for a full day of entertainment and traditional Chinese ceremonies and blessing.
When:?2nd February, 10am – 5pm
Where:?Forest Road, Hurstville
Chinese New Year Night Market
The Sydney Fish Market’s Lunar New Year Night Market will return for a second year!
After the success of last year’s moonlit market, the Sydney Fish Market will keep its doors open late on Friday February 8 for one night only of colour and festive fun to celebrate the Year of the Earth Pig.
Dine on the finest yum cha and Chinese cuisine as well as a treasure trove of fresh oysters, cooked lobsters and crabs, and a seafood barbecue from the bevy of food stalls open on the night. There will also be a range of burgers, fresh fruit and desserts available from vendors if seafood doesn’t float your boat.
The Fish Market itself is open from 7am with the Night Market kicking off at 4pm. Entry is free and so is parking (from 4pm).
Where:?Sydney Fish Market – Bank St, Pyrmont, Sydney
Dragon Boat Races
The biggest event of its kind in the southern hemisphere!
The biggest dragon boat races in the southern hemisphere return to Darling Harbour in 2019. More than 3,000 paddlers will churn up the waters as thousands of spectators watch the 12m long dragon boats battle it out.
Following the ceremony and before the races, a lion dance performance will take place.
Make sure you visit the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office Stall which will operate during the dragon boat festival, providing information about Hong Kong and souvenirs with Hong Kong characteristics!
When:?9th and 10th February, 8.40am
Where:?Cockle Bay Wharf – Darling Park Sydney
Lunar New Year February 2019 Celebrations in Parramatta
Celebrate Lunar New Year and the Year of the Earth Pig in the heart of Parramatta.
Fun for all ages with food, entertainment, performances, workshops and more.
Head to Lunar Land for family-friendly fun. Join free workshops including fruit carving and knot tying. Make your own Year of the Pig mask or Korean fan. Learn some new martial arts and K-pop moves from the experts. Kids will love the pop-up farm where they can meet a real-life pig.
Enjoy the spectacular fireworks show, kicking off at 9:30pm.
When:?15th February 2019
Where:?Centenary Square, Church Street Parramatta Park, Parramatta, Sydney