Although the calendar changes on January 31st for many Australians, plenty of Asian cultures celebrate the Lunar New Year around February each year.  More commonly known in Australia as Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year is on February 16th, 2018 beginning the year of the dog. The dog is the eleventh animal of the Chinese Zodiac and is a symbol of loyalty and honesty.

With every New Year, many people participate in traditional activities to celebrate with their family, friends and community. Activities often include decorating with use of the colour red symbolising wealth, happiness, and good fortune as well as cleaning the house to sweep away ill fortune and make way for good luck. All over Australia, but particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, there are a wide range of events and activities to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The team at FoodFaith have scoured what’s on offer and found a few that we think are worth checking out.

SYDNEY:

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Blacktown City Lunar New Year Celebrations

This annual event includes over 20,000 locals and visitors.  With everything from food, to dance, live music and culminating with fireworks this will be one celebration that really finishes with a bang.

When: Friday, 16 Feb, 2018--5:00PM-9:00PM FREE ADMISSION
Location: Nurragingy Reserve, Knox Road, Doonside 2767
https://www.blacktown.nsw.gov.au/Events-and-activities/Lunar-New-Year-Celebrations

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Art & Congee Breakfast Tour

This is a special event involving both breakfast and a tour.  Walking through the heart of Sydney’s Chinatown, attendees will explore historic areas of public art and regional cuisine.  The work of Lee Kun-Young, a leading conceptual and performance artist will be showcased and then a traditional Taiwanese congee breakfast will be served.

When: Saturday, 17 February, 2018- $20 per ticket at 10:00 am
Location: 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
http://www.4a.com.au/congee-breakfast-tour-lee-kun-yong-equal-area

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Willoughby Council & the Chinese Cultural Centre NSW Chinese New Year Celebrations

This festival is a wonderful conclusion to the week of celebration.  Entertainment at the event includes Kung Fu, Dancing, Magic, Acrobatics, as well as 30 specialty stalls selling Chinese products and food.  Welcome in the Year of the Dog with one of the largest block parties in Sydney.

When: Saturday, 24 February, 2018--11AM-5PM FREE ADMISSION
Location: Chatswood, Victoria Ave, Chatswood (In Chatswood Mall and Concourse)
http://www.visitchatswood.com.au/entertainment/entertainmentdetail/?eventID=5098

MELBOURNE:

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Chinese New Year’s Day Celebration at Queensbridge Square

This celebration is a kickoff for the Chinese New Year In Melbourne.  It is in the heart of the city in Queensbridge Square encompassing this beautiful area.  Entertainment will include 300 performers from more than 20 organisations.  These performances include martial arts, traditional Chinese instruments, many types of dance, magic performances, traditional singing and of course food.

When: 16 February, 2018--6pm-10pm FREE ADMISSION
Where: Queensbridge Square, Southbank
https://www.cnymelbourne.com.au/events/chinese-new-years-day-celebration-at-queensbridge-square/

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Little Bourke St Dumpling Eating Contest

Whilst there are plenty of activities in Little Bourke St for Chinese New Year, one event that stands out is the Dumpling Eating Contest. This is a great opportunity to experience some traditional Chinese culture, eat some great food, and watch others gorge on dumplings.

When: Sunday 18th February 3pm
Where: : Lt. Bourke Street, between Exhibition Street to Market Lane
https://melbournechinesenewyear.com/?portfolio=with-love-from-chinatown

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Year of The Dog Parade

What better way to bring in the Year of the Dog than by having a dog parade! We couldn’t go forget to mention our furry friends IRL so be sure to check out some adorable pups as they make their way across the Treasury Gardens. You can also book yourself in for Yum Cha whilst watching - perfect combination!

When: Sunday, 25 February 2018, 11.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.
Location: Treasury Garden
https://melbournechinesenewyear.com/?portfolio=dog-day-afternoon-parade

For more general information about Lunar and Chinese New Year celebrations in Sydney or Melbourne, check out the below two links - Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Sydney - https://whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/major-events/chinese-new-year-festival
Melbourne - https://melbournechinesenewyear.com/

*Images used in this post are from event host websites