Sydney Lunar Festival curator Valerie Khoo shares what makes the event special

“Sydneysiders are wonderful in embracing the many cultures that make up this city.”

More than 1 million visitors are expected to enjoy the sights, sounds and flavours of Asia during the City of Sydney’s Sydney Lunar Festival from Saturday 25 January to Sunday 9 February.

Valerie Khoo is the curator of the Sydney Lunar Festival for 2020 and 2021. An artist, printmaker and curator, Valerie is passionate about the world of creativity.

How would you sum up the Sydney Lunar Festival 2020 program, and what makes the celebrations special this year?

I’m so excited about the program for the 2020 Sydney Lunar Festival. We’re kicking it off right in the heart of Haymarket where it all began 23 years ago. Sydneysiders can expect a spectacle of colours, traditional lion dancing, laneway festivities, performances, and so much more.

Over the course of the festival, you’ll also be able to experience the amazing Lunar Lanterns which will line Circular Quay. These are the stunning lantern installations representing all 12 animals of the zodiac. We have so many exciting activities, talks, and events in store.

2020 is the Year of the Rat, however rats don’t have a great image. What’s positive about this zodiac animal?

The Year of the Rat is a great year for everyone. I think rats are a bit hard done by in western culture. In fact, people who are born in the rat year are considered to be really likeable and energetic. Rats are also seen as a symbol of wealth - so I think we should all be embracing the Year of the Rat!

Sydney Lunar Festival is really embraced by the whole community. What do you think is its unique appeal?

I think Sydneysiders are so wonderful in embracing the many cultures that form this city. It’s a brilliant opportunity for people to immerse themselves and enjoy the traditions of another culture.

Why do you think Sydney’s celebrations have become such a drawcard for international visitors?

The Sydney Lunar Festival is the largest celebration of Lunar New Year outside of Asia. That’s because, as a city, we truly bring it to life! You have everything from jaw-dropping lion dances, a huge line-up of events and performances, alongside world class 3-storey lantern installations set against the backdrop of Sydney Harbour. This makes it a truly unique experience and that’s why we’re seeing overseas visitors flock to the festival.

The Sydney Lunar Festival takes place from Saturday 25 January to 9 February.

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