Cultural and creative life

Leaping into Sydney Lunar Festival celebrations

The City of Sydney invites everyone to its exciting 16 day celebration.

Sydney Lunar Festival dragon

Street parties, live entertainment, delicious food, lion dances, dragon boats and art and light installations will dazzle crowds at this year’s 16-day Sydney Lunar Festival starting Saturday 21 January.

Our Sydney Lunar Festival program continues to be the biggest Lunar New Year celebration outside of Asia, running from 21 January to 5 February.

An event with some young stars

The young artists whose work will be featured in this year's Sydney Lunar Festival
The young artists whose work will be featured in this year's Sydney Lunar Festival

Organisers of the Sydney Lunar Festival welcomed some of the inspiring young artists whose artwork will feature in this year’s festival.

Their creations were chosen from more than 600 entries and are being displayed on illuminated plinths which will bring vibrant colour to the newly pedestrianised George Street.

They’ll also feature a short hop away on Dixon Street along the mall and in the windows of some businesses.

The group was also proudly displaying their one of a kind t-shirts featuring their illustrations with many of the artists hoping for a healthy, fun and fulfilled 2023 with more time with family and friends.

Highlights of this year’s festival

  • Sydney Lunar Streets - 21 January: Live entertainment, roving performers, food trucks, market stalls and plenty of Instagram moments in Haymarket kick off the celebrations.
  • Lunar New Year’s Day - 22 January: Celebrations continue with roving performances and lion dancing through the Haymarket precinct.
  • Dragon boat racing opening ceremony – 27 January: Australian and Chinese cultures come together with a unique Taoist ceremony that blesses the waters and the traditional eye dotting that awakens the dragons for a safe weekend of racing.
  • Dragon boat racing – 28 and 29 January: A thrilling event of racing with excited crowds watching the paddlers race to pounding drums.
  • Dragon boats closing ceremony and street party – 29 January: DJs, lion dancing and medal presentations to celebrate and fun-filled weekend of action on the water.
  • Lunar Spectacular Show – 4 February: Performers share their culture through dance, music, theatre, traditions and storytelling.

There will also be lion dancing every day in Haymarket and roving performances by artists every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the festival.

Turning Sydney’s streets into art galleries

The festival will feature unique art by creatives drawing on traditional inspiration to tell their versions of what the Lunar New Year means to them.

Banner galleries on Alfred, George, Liverpool and Hay streets, as well as along Eddy Avenue, will bring touches of Korean, Japanese and Chinese culture to more parts of the city with contemporary and traditional interpretations. These galleries have been created by Yasuko Toda, Pei W Kwang, Si Yi Shen, Hyun Hee Lee and Nancy Liang.

Following the enormous success of the inaugural Neon Playground exhibition in Dixon Street, Haymarket HQ will reimagine its large format artistic gateways for Sydney Lunar Festival. The 2023 Auspicious Combination Character Series is created by Chinese Calligraphy artist Huang Ling Ye He exclusively for the festival.

Lunar gateways drawing on traditional Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese architectural features will stand tall on the corner of Campbell and George streets and the corner of Thomas and Hay streets.

Two large ground-based lanterns designed by Meilun Gao and Yuxiao Wang in vibrant colours will also light up the Haymarket heart of the festival.

Ten large illuminated plinths will show off playful bunny artwork made by 36 young Sydneysiders, aged 6 to 12, along George Street. These were selected from more than 600 entries and will also be prominent along Dixon Street, complementing exciting illuminations that bring colour and social media moments to the heart of the festival.

Published 19 January 2023