Chinese New Year celebrations are always a highlight on the Sydney events calendar and 2016 is set to be bigger and better than ever. Welcoming in the Year of the Monkey, the 20th annual Sydney Chinese New Year Festival will run from the 6th to the 21st of February, with over 80 events taking place in Sydney.
The Chinese calendar officially starts on Monday, 8th February 2016, on the night of the second new moon during the solstice. This year the “Fire Monkey” will make its first return in 60 years (1956). Known for its fun-loving nature, the monkey is perfectly aligned with the celebrations that take place during the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival.
The Monkey marks the ninth sign on the Chinese Zodiac. The number nine can be connected to mischief, ambition, adventure, intelligence and more. It’s also considered to be one of the luckiest numbers in 2016.
To help plan your Chinese New Year celebrations in Sydney, here are the events that you don’t want to miss:
For the first time in the festival’s history, the streets of the city will be illuminated by huge lunar lanterns. Each of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac will be created into giant glowing lanterns that will light a path across the city and harbour of Sydney.
The Monkey will light up against the backdrop of the Sydney Opera House. The Rabbit will take up residence out the front of Customs House. Here you’ll find 22 extremely well dressed rabbits practicing Tai Chi. Dawes Point and an iconic Sydney landmark, the Harbour Bridge, is where artist Fan Dongwang’s representation of The Dragon zodiac will be placed.
The path then weaves up from the harbour and into the heart of the city where The Ox will light up Martin Place and Macquarie Street. Featuring piglets and all, a patchwork Pig takes its place down Pitt Street. The exterior and forecourt of the Queen Victoria Building will feature The Tiger.
The stunning display then continues in the beautiful Hyde Park with The Horse, The Rooster and The Rat lanterns placed around the area. The Snake, The Goat and The Dog can be found down towards Haymarket in the centre of Chinatown, each lantern is highlighted with a unique twist.
As well as passing the lanterns, your journey along the lit path will see you come across some amazing and traditional Chinese banquets and feasts, along with community performances, special parades and more.
Dragon Boat Races
11th and 12st February from 9am to 3pm at Cockle Bay Wharf
Dragon Boat racing is of special significance in Chinese culture and its tradition is a long-standing one, with over 2,000 years of history behind the race. Being the largest race of its kind in Australia with 3000 plus competitors, the Dragon Boats draw a huge crowd of spectators down to the viewing pontoon at Cockle Bay Wharf. The atmosphere over the weekend is something to be experienced with the cheers of the crowd and the beating of the drums providing an exciting background to the spectacular 12 metre-long vessels racing through the waters of Darling Harbour.
Evenings from 4th to 14th February at Pyrmont Bay Park
Celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year with 11 nights of delicious food, drink and entertainment in Pyrmont at the Sydney Morning Herald Lunar Markets. Asian cuisine and culture takes centre stage during this pop-up festival in the park.
For more information about the other events happening during the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival click here.
Where to Stay
For international and domestic travellers heading to Sydney to experience the festival first hand, Potts Point is the ideal place to stay. With the centre of the city located just a short walk away and public transport on our doorstep, you can be in Chinatown in less than 30 minutes. Stay Convenient to the 2016 Sydney Chinese New Year Festival and enjoy overnight accommodation, full buffet breakfast for two in Sirocco Restaurant and parking for one vehicle. If you’re looking to stay a little longer in Sydney and explore some of the other amazing sights we’ve got you covered with our Stay Longer, Pay Less package.