New Year may have come and gone but there’s another excuse on the cards to celebrate (safely!). From 12–21 February, Sydney’s events calendar will be jampacked with events, performances and workshops ushering in The Year of the Ox. Watch the Sydney city precinct transform into a sea of red and gold, and take part in vibrant Asian cultural traditions. Here’s all the must-do events from the Sydney Lunar Festival 2021.
Lunar New Year Lanterns
The Lunar New Year Lantern Illuminations are back this year! Always a hit with the whole family, the light displays are even more impressive this year. Take a nighttime stroll through Circular Quay, Sydney CBD and Haymarket, and discover 12 Lunar Zodiac animal illuminations reflecting their symbolic traits. Lookout for these picks this year — the 8 metre tall Monkey tower, cyberpunk-inspired pig and animatronic rat pack!
Got to catch them all? Here’s where all the 12 illuminations are located.
The Rocks Lunar Markets
If your starting line for the festival is at Circular Quay, grab a quick bite at The Rocks Lunar Markets before you set off on your wander through the city. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the Sydney Lunar Festival, Playfair Street will be transformed into a Chinese alleyway filled with pumping music, glittery lanterns and ox motifs. Whether it be dumplings fresh off the pan or sweet treats reminding you of your travels through Asia, there’s bound to be a dish to please.
And don’t leave without trying your luck! Look for the red maple tree dressed in fairy lights and gold leaves near Kendall Lane. Write down your 2021 wishes on a tag and toss it onto the tree. If your tag hooks onto one of the branches, legend says that your wish will come true!
Lion Dancing Performances
Lunar New Year isn’t complete without some heart pumping (and eardrum bursting?!) lion dancing! Traditionally, the lion represents ferocity and, when accompanied with the loud percussion instruments, the dance is used to scare away bad spirits and bring prosperity and fortune into the new year. With the 2020 we’ve all had, we can certainly do with some good luck!
Get amongst all the interactive fun with the entire family and take part in one of China’s oldest New Year traditions at the Sydney Lunar Festival 2021. Score bonus points if you get a chance to touch the lion’s head. It’s said to help you boost your good luck in the new year!
12 February, 1pm — World Square
13 February, 1pm and 3pm — World Square
Saturdays during the Festival, 6pm — Darling Quarter
Saturdays during the Festival, 9pm — Darling Square
Sundays during the Festival, 6:30pm — ICC forecourt
Mov’in Boat Cinema, 12 February
Have you heard? Darling Harbour’s transformed into a floating cinema for the warm season and it’s screening ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ as part of the Sydney Lunar Festival 2021! Welcome the Year of the Ox and watch this blockbuster under the stars while practicing good social distance in your very own row boat or comfy lounge bed.
Pizza and drinks are available from the floating bars.
Grab your tickets to the event here.
The start of the Lunar New Year means getting your annual fortune told. Want to know what 2021 has in store for you? Head into the Chinese Garden of Friendship and look for Feng Shui master Mina Zheng, who will be doing 10 minute fortune reading sessions based on your zodiac sign.
While at the Garden, delight in a plethora of Sydney Lunar Festival events including Chinese calligraphy, tea tasting and musical performances. Don’t forget to leave with your very own Red Envelope with a chocolate coin, symbolising best wishes to you in the new year.