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Free Family Events at Sydney Chinese New Year

Home > Sydney > Chinese New Year | Family | Festivals | Free | Fun for Children
by Katherine Thomas (subscribe)
Having spent the last few years living abroad I now wish to rediscover my home city of Sydney to keep that 'travelling feeling' and share my findings with those that might want a bit of inspiration.
Event: -
Free activities the whole family can enjoy
Whilst most countries and their people celebrate New Year on January 1st, year in year out, Chinese New Year is somewhat different. Rather than being in line with the calendar year, Chinese New Year takes place on a different date each year in line with the lunar calendar, with celebrations lasting approximately two weeks. Who doesn't love a party that lasts for two weeks?

In 2018, Chinese New Year begins on Friday February 16th, welcoming the Year of the Dog. Look to your local area and beyond for cultural activities that can suit your family, as it is a fantastic time to be out and about and share this culture with young children. Don't forget to wear a bit of red when you do, for it is said to bring luck and fortune.

Image from event website.

Free Fireworks show: 16 February

Opening night of the Chinese New Year Festival down by Circular Quay.

The bridge will be bathed in red light, with fireworks launched at 8.15pm from nearby barges floating in the harbour. There will be a Frameshift performance presented by Art & About, and the Guide Dogs NSW/ACT graduation ceremony. Families can also enjoy the Lunar Lanterns which open the same day.

Free Art Installation: 16 February – 25 February

Lunar Lanterns

Traditionally, zodiac animals were used to date the years in a recurring 12 year cycle. The Chinese animal zodiac includes the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Each animal has symbolic meanings given to it by the ancient Chinese.

Each animal of the Chinese Zodiac is represented in the Lunar Lanterns installation down at Circular Quay, and will light up the harbour for all to see.

Free family films: 15 February – 17 February

Lunar Feast on Films, Harbourside Shopping Centre

To celebrate the Chinese New Year, Harbourside Shopping Centre is hosting a free open-air cinema surrounded by lanterns and Chinese décor, screening a line-up of 3 family-friendly films a night for 3 nights. Seats are managed on a first-come-first served basis so ensure you arrive early, there are multiple food and beverage options nearby for you to indulge in some new, or old favorite flavors. Films include Kung Fu Panda, House of Flying Daggers, Rush Hour and Karate Kid, to name a few. Visit the Harbourside website here for the full schedule

Free Lion dances in the City: 3 February – 25 February

Always popular with the young ones, visit Chinatown on one of the dates below between 12 and 4 and you are unlikely to miss the Chinese Lion Dance which will be centred around Dixon Street. Wiggling its way through the streets of ChinaTown complete with drums and cymbals, you can hear the lion approaching long before you see it. For those who don't know, the Chinese Lion dance is a traditional dance in China and other Asian countries where performers mimic a lion's movements in a lion costume to bring good luck and fortune.

Saturday 3 February
Sunday 4 February
Saturday 10 February
Sunday 11 February
Sunday 18 February
Sunday 25 February

Free Chinese Art Exhibition: 8 February – 20 February

Australia Asia Executive Centre

To celebrate the Chinese New Year 2018, there will be an exhibition of 14 well-known Chinese artists work at 280 Dixon Street, Pyrmont 2009 from February 8th until February 20th. The artists include Nie Weigu, Li Hong and Li Ming, Ginger Li, John NH Zhang, Qian Jianhua, Hsiang Pinhsun, Dr Richard Wu, Shao Yi Yang, Jin Sha, Zhong Chen, Jane Wang, Aiping Zhu and Xu Hao, and for some of them, it will be their first time exhibiting in Australia. The exhibition has been coordinated by the Australia Asia Executive Centre, please contact them directly for tickets by emailing:

Free Craft, Childrens Cooking Classes & Festival: 16 February

City of Parramatta Lunar New Year Event

If your children like to get involved and you enjoy a festival that offers plenty for them to do then look no further than Parramatta's Centenary Square on Friday 16th February from 5pm. The square will play host to a huge program of food, entertainment and free activities including craft and children's cooking classes to welcome in the Chinese New Year. If that's not enough there will also be face painting (Peking Opera style), a lunar garden, market stalls and a spectacular fireworks display to conclude the evening at 9.30pm.
For more information – click here
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Why? Cultural fun for all the family
When: Some events run from 8-20 February
Where: Various locations around Sydney
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Congratulations winning second place.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12470) 599 days ago
lots of good practical information in this article thanks Katherine!
by Kate Blake (score: 3|1352) 611 days ago
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