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The Year of the Dragon will be ushered in on Monday 23 January 2012, but why confine your celebrations to just one day? The Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, the largest outside mainland China, will be dancing, painting, racing and cooking up a storm from 20 January to 5 February.
This Chinese New Year celebration, a City of Sydney event, promises much, with the dragon considered one of the luckiest and strongest signs on the Chinese Zodiac, and the dragon's lucky colours of gold and black featuring prominently.
The festival kicks off with a literal and culinary bang with the free launch event at Belmore Park (across Eddy Avenue from Central Station) from 6pm to 8pm on Friday 20 January 2012. In conjunction with the Chinese New Year Markets, this event will feature fireworks and food as the problems of 2011 (the Year of the Rabbit) are chased noisily away and dragons and lions are brought to life. From 8pm the team from SBS TV phenomenon PopAsia will be on hand for competitions and giveaways.
Chinese New Year Markets On Friday 20 January (from 4pm to 11pm) and Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 January (from 11am to 10pm) the Chinese New Year Markets at Belmore Park will sizzle, pop and wok into life. They'll be serving up noodles, dumplings and spicy Sichuan cuisine, and will also host celebrity chefs in the Ayam Kitchen. Master Chef favourites Alvin Quah and Adam Liaw will headline. But it isn't just about the food. The markets also include arts and crafts stalls, and music ranging from traditional performances to Korean rock and Asian pop. If you fancy your singing talents you can even sing for your supper in the karaoke competition. Full details about the Chinese New Year Markets are available here.
The traditional Twilight Parade will weave its magic from Town Hall to Chinatown on the evening of Sunday 29 January. Almost 3000 performers will entertain you with floats, lanterns, singing, martial arts, acrobatics, dancing and plate spinning. Pre-parade entertainment begins at 7pm with the parade leaving Town Hall at 8.15pm. A feature of this year's parade will be glowing dragon projections onto iconic Sydney buildings. Follwing the parade a fireworks display will light up Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour. This is a free event.
Dragon Boat Races Set aside the weekend of 4 and 5 February for the exciting spectacle of dragon boat racing. This is one of the world's most ancient sports, dating back to 770BC. The 12m long boats hold 20 people including a sweep and drummer and will do battle on the waters of Cockle Bay from 8am to 5 pm. This is a free event.
The line-up for the festival is really chock-full of choice. In addition to these highlights there are photographic exhibitions, calligraphy demonstrations, lion dancing, Chinese films, lectures, banquets, tours, workshops, and more. All details are available on the website.The Festival Map and Planner can be downloaded here. Some events are free.Costs of other events are listed with the event details on the website.
Get in touch with your dragon side and take in all the colourful, exotic and magical sights, sounds and tastes of the Chinese New Year Festival.