Our picks for Chinese New Year

It’s time to celebrate the Year of the Dog in Sydney!

There’s so much happening during the Chinese New Year Festival which runs from 16 February to 4 March. Here are just a few of the best things to do.

1. Explore the Lunar Lanterns and discover your birth sign. This year the friendly dog takes centre stage at Sydney Opera House while 11 other spectacular lanterns light up Circular Quay. You’ll meet some new critters, including some lucky pigs and a powerful dragon.  While you’re exploring the lanterns, stop by Museum of Contemporary Art’s pop-up Colour Fields bar. It’s open until Saturday 24 Feburary. Plus, hear lantern designers Song Ling (The Dog), and Kevin Bathman (The Tiger), in conversation with Festival Curator, Claudia Chan Shaw in a free talk at Customs House Library.

A first look at the new Pig Lantern designed by John Deng

2. …And head to Chinatown to see 2 guardian dogs towering 3.8 metres above the street. These dogs were designed by artist Fan Dongwang.

3. The Lunar New Year calls for a feast. Eat noodles for longevity, dumplings for wealth and dessert for a sweet year. There are heaps of delicious foodie events to whet your appetite.

Pic by @jaym3s2 via Instagram

Pic by @jaym3s2 via Instagram

4. Get snapping! Tag #CNYSYD on your festival snaps to show us how you’re celebrating.

5. Pull up a chair for a friendly game of mahjong with an unbeatable view at The Star’s Fortune Mahjong Garden in Circular Quay.

Lion Dancers for Lunar New Year celebrations

6. Catch community performances from talented locals aged who’ll perform traditional and modern dance, martial arts, lion dances and more. Don’t miss a SBS PopAsia special on the Friday 16 February from 5pm at First Fleet Park  – hosts Kevin Kim and Andy Trieu will entertain the crowds, followed by PopAsia Friday Fan Forum Live.

7. Grab a spot harbourside and watch the biggest Dragon Boat Races in the southern hemisphere. Plus, are you Team Jonesy or Team Amanda? WSFM’s breakfast duo battle it out in their very own Celebrity Dragon Boat Race on Saturday 24 February.

Dragon boat racing in Darling Harbour

8.  Did you know it takes 2 years to train a guide dog? Meet the graduating class at Guide Dogs NSW/ACT graduation ceremony.

9. Plus, to celebrate 60 years of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, 60 artists have put their own unique spin on a model dog. Vote for your favourite with a gold coin donation.

Lokman Leung, a graphic designer and community leader, has been leading lion dances for more than 20 years

10. See lion dances in Chinatown every Friday to Sunday in Chinatown. Additional lion dance performances will be hosted by the Dixon Street Chinese Committee.

11. Treat yourself! Did you know it’s good luck to wear a new outfit on the first day of the Lunar New Year? While in Pitt Street Mall, look up to see the a ceiling of lanterns.

12. Looking for family-friendly activities? Why not drop in and make a paper pup at the Art Gallery of NSW?

13. Watch a demonstration by master calligraphy artists (and take home a small handwritten souvenir). Book tickets to free events at Customs House Library and Green Square Library.

Want more?

  • Grab a bite to eat at the Sydney Opera House after a tour in Mandarin or English.
  • Get the free Sydney Culture Walks app for a fun and easy way to discover all 12 Lunar Lanterns directly through your smartphone.
  • Follow the social media conversation (#CNYSYD) to get real-time festival updates.

That’s just the beginning!

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