Lunar New Year

Celebrate Lunar New Year – aka the Year of the Rabbit – in spectacular style in Sydney. 

What is the Lunar New Year?

A celebration for many cultures in Sydney, including the city’s Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian and Korean communities, Lunar New Year 2023 is on January 22, with the city hosting an exciting number of events from 18 January through to mid-February. Think street parades, lion dancing, huge lanterns, pop-up markets, art installations and plenty of delicious food. 

Fun fact: 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, the fourth character in the Chinese zodiac, which is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture. 

Couple take a selfie in front of the Chinatown gates on Dixon Street, Sydney City

Lunar New Year, Chinatown

Sydney Lunar Festival

Each year the Lunar New Year celebrations in Sydney seem to get bigger – and are now said to be one of the biggest outside Asia. At the centre of the celebrations is the CBD’s Sydney Lunar Festival, running from 21 January until 5 February 2023.  

Sydney Lunar Streets is a return favourite – when the lanes of Haymarket come alive with live entertainment, roving performers, market stalls, food trucks, DJs and plenty of Insta-worthy moments on 21 January. From 9pm, head to the main stage at Hay Street for performances from Sydney’s Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Taiwanese and Japanese community groups. 

Young girl places a red packet in mouth of the dragon for Lunar New Year, Chinatown

Young girl places a red packet in mouth of the dragon for Lunar New Year, Chinatown

Throughout the festival admire the lion dancers set to weave in and out of crowds to thunderous drumming and on the 21 and 22 January enjoy the high pole spectacular shows where performers mimic the movements of a lion while carrying out highly skilled acrobatics. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, take your pick of delicious Asian restaurants for dinner. 

Watch the dragon boats battle it out at Cockle Bay Wharf, with drummers setting the pace on board. Before the event, Taoist monks perform a blessing of the waters and a unique eye dotting ceremony. Or see performers from a variety of different community groups share their culture through dance, music, theatre, traditions and storytelling at the Spectacular Show, featuring Japanese drumming, K-pop routines, Chinese folk dancing, fashion shows and more. 

Crowds enjoying the Chinese Lantern Festival 2018, Tumbalong Park

Crowds enjoying the Chinese Lantern Festival 2018 at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour

Lunar New Year at The Rocks

From 22 January to 5 February, The Rocks will be putting on a celebration of sizzling Asian dishes, live entertainment and bustling markets – all bathed in the glow of red lanterns. Catch a movie at the Laneway Cinema @ The Rocks – with free open-air movie screenings on bean bags and deck chairs. 

Enjoy one of the specially curated cocktails at Grain Bar, which is being taken over by one of Asia’s Best Bars -28 HongKong Street - from the 21 – 22 January. Or sample the delights of the 'Trust the Chef,' Lunar New Year menu at Blu Bar at the Shangri-La Hotel, with incredible views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House to match.  

Chatswood Year of the Rabbit Festival 

From 18 January until 12 February, Chatswood puts on a festival of art, music and food to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Events include the Golden Market, with stalls selling flowers, lucky bamboo, decorations and delicious Asian food. Or you can get creative at a Chinese Kunqu Opera Mask Painting, lantern making or fan painting workshop. 

Chatswood Lunar New Year Celebrations

Chatswood Lunar New Year Celebrations

More fun to be had 

Many restaurants put on special menus and banquets for Lunar New Year. A few favourites include Spice Temple, Ho Jiak Haymarket, Kitchens on Kent at The Langham and Aria, as well as the multiple venues by New Shanghai, The Lotus Dining Group and Din Tai Fung. On 21 January, the Sydney Fish Market organise lion dancers to entertain visitors enjoying a seafood lunch. 

Lunar New Year celebrations are also held at Bankstown’s Chang Lai Yuan Chinese Gardens in Nurragingy Reserve on 4 February, complete with a fireworks display, dragon dance and free kids craft workshops, as well as Campsie’s Anzac Street Mall, which puts on a Lunar Noodle Market on 4 February. 

Lunar New Year Celebrations, Blacktown

Lunar New Year Celebrations, Blacktown - Credit: Lunar New Year Celebrations



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