Year Of The Rabbit: Where To Celebrate Lunar New Year In Australia

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Lunar New Year is fast approaching — this year, the festivities fall on January 22. Around the world and in various cultures, Lunar New Year symbolises fresh beginnings (often marking the blooming of spring). Loved ones gather, prayers are made, superstitions are observed and food is shared.

What does the Year of the Rabbit symbolise?

2022 was the Year of the Tiger, and this year, we welcome the Year of the Rabbit. The rabbit is traditionally known as one of the more gentle, kind, courageous and lucky zodiac animals out of the 12.
This Year of the Rabbit is encapsulated by yin, meaning that relaxation, balance and reflection will be core concepts for 2023.

How do people celebrate Lunar New Year?

Different communities celebrate Lunar New Year in different ways; as opposed to referring to the holiday as 'Chinese New Year', Lunar New Year is a reflection of the breadth of the cultures that partake. Firecrackers, fireworks, dragon dances and parades are part of the public festivities surrounding Lunar New Year.
Last year, Chinese-Indonesian digital creator Tara Chandra spent the morning praying to her ancestors with food and money offerings. Malaysian-born Chinese designer Anna May celebrated Lunar New Year "the Malaysian way" — by tossing yee sang (salmon sashimi salad) and eating other home-cooked Malaysian Chinese food.
Chinese actor Jenny Zhou recalls watching live show Chun Wan (春晚) — an extravagant show of dancing, singing and theatre — every year. Journalist Vivian celebrated by giving her two-year-old a red envelope.
There is a myriad of ways to celebrate and observe Lunar New Year and individual quirks and traditions make the festival even more special.

Where can I celebrate Lunar New Year in Australia?

Australia's migrant majority means that we put on a heck of a show when it comes to holidays like Lunar New Year. While staying local and celebrating in a Chinese restaurant or in the family home can be just as fun, many are eager to once again experience communal events.
Here are the major events in each of Australia's cities.


It isn't Lunar New Year without fireworks! Sydney knows how to put on a good show, so on 21 January, 28 January and 4 February at 9pm, the sky will be an explosion of colour and noise.
Make your way to Cockle Bay Wharf, where teams of paddlers race it out in 12-metre-long dragon boats. On Saturday 28 and Sunday 29, all the action will be free. Head down early at 8:30am on Saturday to watch Taoist monks perform a blessing of the waters and an eye-dotting ceremony.
On Lunar New Year's Eve, between 5pm and 10pm, the streets of Haymarket will transform into a hub of live entertainment, performers, food trucks, market stalls and DJs. This multicultural event will feature stage performances from Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Taiwanese and Japanese community groups.


No matter the season, Melbourne's Chinatown in the middle of the CBD is always a delightful collision of food, drink and culture. But when it's Lunar New Year, the streets typically attract over 100,000 visitors, so you know it's going to be a party.
On January 22, the National Gallery Of Victoria will be opening its doors in celebration of the Lunar New Year. There will be food, crafting activities, music, lion dance performances, as well as complimentary red envelopes.
Celebrate the New Year surrounded by history at the Melbourne Museum. Its detailed itinerary has lion and dragon dances, sea bunny crafts and night-time Vietnamese food trucks.


Over three weeks from February 1, Brisbane will welcome back its annual BrisAsia Festival. There will be a selection of traditional and contemporary performances, such as lion dancers and martial arts displays, plus KPOP DJs and drag queens.
Treat your tastebuds to a feast put on by Brisbane Quarter. There will be special Lunar New Year dishes created for those dining à la carte, or you can opt for an extravagant 12-course meal (with your choice of lobster or mud crab).


Organised by the Chung Wah Society, Darwin Chinese New Year Festival will be serving up a whole range of Asian cuisines. If last year's festivities are anything to go by, there will be entertainment like table tennis and cooking demonstrations, street parades and lion dances.


Head down to Perth Cultural Centre and WA Museum Boola Bardip on Sunday, 6 February for a day of free celebrations! From 12pm to 9pm, the street will turn into one of Perth's largest community events, featuring lion dances, food stalls, Chinese orchestras and firecrackers.
Over at The Glasshouse on January 24, a Lunar New Year celebration will be taking place. A lion dance from Chung Wah Association starts the day, then visitors can have their own go at crafting paper lanterns, Chinese dragon puppets and masks.


Get down to Adelaide's 20th annual Lunar New Year Street Party! Gouger Street and Moonta Street will be home to 80 stalls and food trucks, which will see over 25,000 visitors attend in celebration.


Over two weekends from January 13 to 21, Dickson will put on a Lunar New Year event featuring local community groups, lion dance performers and local businesses. There will also be an unveiling of a Zodiac Rabbit sculpture!


On January 22, from 10am to 4pm, Parliament House will turn into a free and family-friendly hub of festivities. Expect dragon and lion dances, local artists, food trucks and more!
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