If you thought the joyous celebration of a new year ended on the first day of January, we’re here to deliver the wonderful news that this isn’t quite so. With the beckoning of a new lunar year - The Year of The Pig - Sydney has alive with festivities from 4 February, the eve of the twelfth zodiac year. This event is always a Sydney must-see, so make sure you enjoy the best of what’s on in the city this week:
Wander down to Circular Quay and be greeted by the formidable vision of 12 towering, colourful animals, each representing a sign of the Chinese zodiac dotted across the Sydney foreshore. Find the animal of your birth year, get to know your animal's qualities, and snap a photo with these illuminated masterpieces - sharing your unforgettable image with the official hashtag #SydLunar.
Dates:1 - 10 February 2019
Where: Circular Quay
Calligraphy at Customs House
Discover the meditative, captivating beauty of calligraphy as master artists from the Australian Chinese Artists Society create incredible works of art from Chinese characters. Over two hours on Tuesday, their visual poetry will be on display, and you'll be able to go home with your own beautiful brush stroke souvenir from the talented calligraphers.
Dates: 5 February 2019
Where: Customs House, Circular Quay
The Rocks Lunar Markets
The cobbled lanes of The Rocks will be transformed from the 8 - 10 February, into a lantern-lit, bustling treasure trove of goodies including handmade arts and crafts, clothing, jewellery and other trinkets. Besides the regular stallholders, the markets will feature special new guests such as Mr Bao and their fluffy, flavourful steamed buns, Merry Pops’ and their green tea ice cream, and delicious hot dishes from Let’s Do Yum Cha.
Dates: 8 - 10 February
Where: The Rocks, Circular Quay
Lunar New Year Buffet at Cafe Opera
One of the most wonderful parts of Lunar New Year in Sydney is the array of mouth-watering celebratory feasts on offer. Lucky foods include dumplings and spring rolls, the latter of which - with their warm, golden colour - is reminiscent of small bars of gold. Try a smorgasbord of Chinese-inspired dishes, dim sum stations, market-fresh seafood and more at Cafe Opera's Lunar New Year buffet, so you can refuel ahead of more festivities.
Dates: 4 - 10 February 2019
Where: Cafe Opera, Level 1, InterContinental Sydney
Price: Lunch $79 per person, $45 per child (aged 5-12). Dinner $89 per person, $45 per child (aged 5-12). Children 4 and under dine complimentary.
Lion Dances in Chinatown
Across the city, lion dances will showcase the vibrancy of Chinese culture, but none with as much colour and ceremony as those in Chinatown, which is only a short taxi ride from InterContinental Sydney. The lion dance is considered good luck as the creature is thought to ward away evil spirits, so we suggest a front-line spectator seat for a prosperous 2019 .
Dates: 1 - 3 February and 8-10 February 2019
Where: Corner of Thomas Street and Ultimo Road, Haymarket
Dragon Boat Races in Darling Harbour
For over two millenia, the institution of Dragon Boat Racing has been thriving in China, and you'll have the chance to witness the exhilaration and thrilling competition as these colossal 12 metre boats take to the water this weekend. As the biggest event of it's kind in the Southern hemisphere, complete with lion dances and blessings from Taoist monks, you'd be unlucky to miss this incredible experience.
Dates: 9-10 February
Where: Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour
Heaven and Earth exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
This brand new exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales is a seriously rare chance to gaze upon artworks collected by Chinese emperors over centuries, curated from collections that are rarely seen outside Taipei. With works on loan from The National Palace Museum, Taipei, this mesmerising exhibition explores the ancient Chinese concept of tian ren he yi (harmony between heaven, nature and humanity).
To accompany the exhibition across Lunar New Year, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is hosting an exciting programme of interactive events and entertainment - from celebrity talks with Benjamin Law and Adam Liaw, to live Chinese music, tea ceremonies, and fun activities for the kids.
Dates: 2 February - 5 May 2019
Where: Art Gallery of New South Wales
Price: $18 adult, $16 concession, $45 family (2 adults + up to 3 children), $8 youth (12-17 years), Free for children under 12