by Rebecca Lee
Our very own Eastwood is home to one of Sydney’s biggest Chinese and Korean communities, so with Lunar New Year on its way here is what you can expect!
Year of the Rooster
2017 is the Year of the Rooster. The Rooster is the 10th sign of the Zodiac. In Chinese culture the Rooster represents fidelity and punctuality, for it wakes people up on time. People born in the year of the Rooster are beautiful, kind-hearted, hard-working, courageous, independent, humorous and honest. They like to keep home neat and organized. On the other side, they might be arrogant, self-aggrandizing, persuasive to others and wild as well as admire things or persons blindly.
Other Years of the Rooster include 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969 and 1957.
The centre of Chinese Lunar New Year is the Reunion Dinner, held on New Year’s Eve. It’s a chance for generations of families to reunite around tables and enjoy the food and time together. The menu will almost always include fish, dumplings, spring rolls and longevity noodles. These are longer than regular noodles- but don’t cut them! As superstition goes that this will shorten your life.
Red Envelopes or Packets with money inside known as Hongbao are gifted to children and seniors. These are generally available from your local newsagent or bank. Street celebrations often include a traditional lion dance, which is thought to bring good luck. They dance to a drum, cymbals and a gong. On the head of the lion is mirror so that evil spirits will be frightened away by their own reflections. As the lion runs along the streets he begins to visit different places. On his way he meets another person, the ‘Laughing Buddha’ who is dressed in monk’s robes and a mask. He teases the lion with a fan made of banana-leaves, which makes the lion jump around. As the lion moves from place to place he looks for some green vegetables such as lettuce, which are hung above the doors of houses or businesses. Hidden in the leaves is a Hungbao which the lion eats along with the lettuce. He then scatters lettuce leaves to symbolize a fresh start for the New Year and the spreading of good luck.
City of Ryde
- The City of Ryde’s Chine New Year celebrations kick off with a Cooking Competition in Eastwood Plaza on Saturday 4th February .
- The Grand Celebration complete with food, fireworks, music, dance and of course- the iconic dancing lions is held on Saturday 11th February. All the details here.
- Don’t miss the spectacular lion dance! The dance will be performed in centre starting on Level 4 in The Loft and ending on Level 1 near Target on the 28th January 11am-3pm.
- Get your name written in traditional Chinese calligraphy for free. Visit the calligrapher on Level 3 near Glassons.
- Go in the draw to win your Luna New Year wish granted. Visit the Chinese wishing tree on Level 4 and write down your wish in the Wishing Well. Macquarie Centre will be grating 3 wishes, so make it count!
- Children can celebrate Chinese New Year stories and songs in English and Chinese at Chatswood Library on Thursday 2nd February 2017 from 10 – 10:45am.
- Chatswood’s Chinese New Year Celebrations will be held on Saturday 4th February from 10am- 5pm in Chatswood Mall and The Concourse.
- Traditional Lion and Dragon Dances will welcome the New Year, followed by an assortment of performances and entertainment. There will also be 30+ specialty stalls selling Chinese products and food, as well as information and services. The official opening will be held at 11am in Chatswood Mall.
- The Chinese New Year Celebrations are organised by the Chinese Cultural Centre NSW and supported by Willoughby City Council.
CBD and Inner City
- Visitors will follow the Lunar Lanterns trail around Circular Quay from the Sydney Opera House to Dawes Point. Australian Chinese artists have designed 12 spectacular zodiac animal lanterns varying in size up to 10m high that will line the foreshore throughout the festival.
- The City will collaborate with principal partner Westpac to welcome the Year of the Rooster lighting famous Sydney landmarks in auspicious red for 3 nights from 27th to 29th January. Painting the Town Red will highlight the Sydney Opera House sails, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay station, Sydney Town Hall and other landmarks.
- At Martin Place, the Westpac Lunar Lantern Hub will feature a 50m canopy of red lanterns, food, drink, The Star Fortune Mahjong Garden and nightly DJ and entertainment. On 3 February, the hub will host a party to mark the 21st birthday of the festival in Sydney with lion dances, community dance performances, live music and an opportunity for everyone to join together in an enormous singalong with ‘massaoke’.
- More than 1,000 performers from Sydney’s Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese communities will bring the city’s streets to life with hip hop, children’s performances, folk dance, martial arts, kung fu and traditional dance performances.
- The popular community performance program will entertain audiences with pop-up style performances throughout the festival on Friday and Saturday evenings in Customs House Square and Martin Place, with more performances celebrating the festival in Chinatown.
- The final weekend of the festival on 11 and 12 February will feature the excitement and thrill of the dragon boat races. With origins dating back 2,500 years to ancient China, 3,000 paddlers will converge on Darling Harbour for the largest dragon boat regatta in the southern hemisphere. All the info here
Take a look at the 2016 festivities from the City of Sydney.