Year Of The Rabbit: Lunar New Year

Rebecca Varidel
14th Jan 2023

Sydney now hosts the biggest lunar new year celebrations each year anywhere outside of Asia. With just one week to go before celebrations to welcome the Year Of The Rabbit / Cat kick off on 21 January 2023, we take a look at some of the offerings of our multicultural city.

Cabramatta Lunar New Year own Centre on Saturday 4 February FREE to attend and is open to locals and visitors from all backgrounds and cultures. Lantern decorations, wishing tree with red envelopes, vibrant music, God of Fortune, enticing food from local restaurants, and traditional lion and dragon dancing performances make up the program on the day.

Arthur Street car park will host amusement rides and carnival games. Arthur Street will see roving performers and a variety of workshops, in which audiences can participate. Special LED roving performers and lion dancing will take place in the evening, with the traditional crackers leading into the grand fireworks finale at 8pm. Park Road and Arthur Street will focus on stalls and space for roving performances and foot traffic.

Bankstown Lunar New Year Enjoy a traditional lion dance, live entertainment, Chinese firecrackers, an eating competition and more. Saturday 14 January, 4pm - 9pm Saigon Place (Bankstown City Plaza), Bankstown.

Campsie Lunar Noodle Markets Enjoy delicious food, traditional lion dance and Chinese firecrackers.
Saturday 4 February, 5pm - 9pm Anzac Street Mall, Campsie.

Hurstville Forest Road will provide food and market stalls on Saturday 28 January and roving performances and Hurstville Plaza to view the amazing entertainment on stage. 

This year marks the 20th year the Lunar New Year Festival is celebrated in the Georges River Council, with 30,000 visitors expected to welcome the Year of Rabbit in Sydney’s South.

As part of Council’s commitment to public art, Council engaged Sydney-based artist Chrissy Lau to create a public art mural for Lunar New Year.

Her artwork, ‘Fun Rabbit, Fun Rabbit, Fun, Fun, Fun’ features 8 lucky Feng Shui rabbits leaping and dancing with auspicious imagery to celebrate Lunar New Year. The mural will be on display at Hurstville Interchange Park during the festival.

SBS Lantern Making

Decorate and make your own Year of the Rabbit - Lunar New Year lantern. Visitors can also write a unique wish before it is put on display. Hurstville Interchange Park, 3.30pm - 5.30pm Saturday 28 January.

Georges River Council official opening ceremony kicks off from 3pm on 28th at Hurstville Plaza with lion dancing and speeches followed by local community organisations showcasing their performances and stories through folk song, cultural dance, singing, martial arts and instruments.

TASTE Cultural Food Tours are offering and epic 1.5 hour Lunar New Year tasting tour where you tastebuds can travel to China Mongolia and more!

Sydney Lunar Streets The streets of Haymarket will buzz with live entertainment, roving performers, food trucks, market stalls, and DJs. Enjoy performances from Sydney’s Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Taiwanese and Japanese community groups on the main stage at Hay Street.

Dragon Boat Races Originating in the rivers of Southern China as a way to bring prosperous rains, today’s dragon boat racing has evolved into a fast-paced water sport and they are on again this year in Sydney 28 - 29 January at Cockle Bay Wharf.

Festival of Abundance The Star Sydney is celebrating Lunar New Year with a two week celebration of culinary curiosities, opulent dining and artistic installations from Saturday 21 January to Sunday 5 February.

Ringing in the Year of the Rabbit, The Star Sydney’s signature restaurants will each offer dishes created from the finest ingredients that have cultural significance to the Lunar New Year, bringing diners good fortune and prosperity for the year ahead. The highlight of these dishes is Australia's most expensive sashimi platter. Sokyo's $888 "Prosperity" lobster sashimi platter is packed with 12 kinds of fish and lobster and is perfect for sharing with friends and family.

The Star’s Grand Foyer will play host to special free performances of Aqualume, a multi-sensory performance featuring an interplay of light, water and digital art alongside breathtaking aerial choreography. The show will be performed six times a night from Thursdays to Sundays and is free to view for all visitors.

The Michael Reid Art Bar is collaborating with the Vermilion Gallery of Contemporary Chinese Art to fill its space with works responding to the Lunar New Year from fourteen Chinese artists. The exhibition, INK+, will emphasise the legacy and ongoing resonance of Chinese ink painting through works spanning an array of art forms including painting, calligraphy, sculpture and mixed media.

Between the dining and entertainment activations introduced across the precinct, guests will also be able to enjoy a nest of 56 majestic bright red, pink, green, gold, purple, blue and yellow oversized rabbit statues taking over the property, providing a great opportunity for a photo moment and good luck for the year ahead.

Lunar New Year Lantern-Making Workshops hosted by 107 Projects at its South Eveleigh studio on Sunday 22 January between 11am and 4pm. Discover the 2,000 year old paper lantern art that has been passed down through generations and all using household recycled materials and plant offcuts. Cost is $20 per class and bookings can be made here.

Fortune Telling Is this your year for luck? Visit renowned feng shui master, Mina Zheng for a free 10 minute reading to discover your personal fortune for 2023. Bookings are essential and sessions will be held at the below locations:

Between Friday 20 and Sunday 22 January at Rhodes Waterside
On Saturday 14, Sunday 15 and Thursday 19 January at East Village in Zetland
On Thursday 12 and Thursday 19 January at Birkenhead Point

Free Personalised Calligraphy Enjoy the calming and enchanting art of calligraphy and watch your name created in the ancient script. All participants receive a bookmark to take home with them.

Between 11AM and 3PM on Wednesday 11 and Wednesday 18 January at Birkenhead Point
Between 12PM and 3PM on Friday 13, Saturday 14, Friday 20 and Saturday 21 January at Rhodes Waterside
At various times on Saturday 14, Sunday 15, Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 January at East Village

Rhodes Waterside has also launched a Fortune Factory to celebrate Chinese culture and this ancient tradition. Learn to play the skilful 19th Century game of Mahjong, with teachers available daily between 12PM and 4PM, and then take a dip in the Prosperity Pond for a surprise.

Across all locations, enjoy the Lion Dance and have a little shimmy, shake and selfie snap with the gold shimmering Mirror Bunnies, both happening at various times, so check out their websites for the schedules. Plus, to kick off your Lunar New Year the centres are giving away a $2,000 Eat, See and Do prize pack including a private 2-hour cruise for 16 people, a Chinese banquet and a $1,000 Flight Centre Voucher.

Rabbit Sculpture Trail Eight large-scale inflatable rabbits will feature across Chatswood’s CBD 18 January - 12 February, evoking a sense of wonder while raising questions about our relationship with the natural world, in a whimsical nod to the Year of the Rabbit. The rabbits, created by artist Amanda Parer, have been exhibited in almost 300 cities around the globe since 2014 and enjoyed by millions, capturing media attention wherever they go.

Lunar Spectacular Show Community and cultural groups will take to the stage for the free Lunar Spectacular Show in celebration of The Year of the Rabbit in Centennial Hall 483 George Street: Saturday 4 February from 10.30am - 11.30am, 1pm - 2pm, 3pm - 4pm. Expect to see Japanese drumming, K-pop routines, Chinese folk dancing, fashion shows and more. Bookings are essential as limited numbers of tickets are available.