Chinese New Year celebrations change slightly each year in date as the festivities are based on the Lunar calendar and its association with the movement of the moon. This year of 2020 sees a start date of Saturday 25th January and the launch of an exciting street party in the bustling laneways of Haymarket.
From 5pm-10pm, Chinatown will be abuzz with live entertainment from roving performers and a multitude of cultural groups. Sydney's Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, Taiwanese and Japanese communities are all taking part in the spirit of the event, transforming the area into a colourful sight to behold as they share their music, dance, theatre and storytelling.
From 8.30pm, electrifying LED lion dancers will whirl and weave in and out of the crowds to thunderous drumming and don't worry if you miss one set because there are 13 dynamic performances lined up for the evening. A vibrant and luminous 10m long LED dragon will also twist and turn as it sweeps its way through the merriment of visitors.
Adding even more colour is the lunar calendar's other association – the 12 animal signs in the Chinese Zodiac. This year it's the Year of the Rat, a symbol of wealth and surplus with gold the prestigious colour. We're in for a treat with 9 fabulous animatronic rat lanterns that will feature on a massive tower of industrial cogs. Created by artist Claudia Chan Shaw, two of these heroes will be previewed at this party – a pair of larger-than-life moving gold metallic rats measuring 2.8m tall. They're inspired by 1950's robots with each having a winding key on its back and a spinning Chinese good luck symbol on its chest. Be sure to snap a selfie with them. The rats will then move to First Fleet Park at Circular Quay where the complete installation of 9 rats can be seen from 31st January – 9th February shining in the sunlight by day and glowing golden at night.
The party also encompasses craft activities for children, classic carnival games and a spectacular fireworks display after dark. Of course, there's plenty of food choices in Chinatown with famed restaurants bringing celebratory feasts, whilst food trucks and market stalls provide festival-friendly snacks.
This free party is just the beginning of the city coming alive for 16 days with the sights, sounds and tastes of Asia. There are more than 90 events across Sydney to be experienced. Check out the full program of lunar festivities here.
P.S. Noting the launch date, it is going to be one massive weekend with Australia Day falling the following day. Be prepared with the heat of the season in mind and stay hydrated so you can enjoy all that's on offer.