Painting the town red for Sydney Chinese New Year

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In an historic first the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay Station, Sydney Town Hall and the Capitol Theatre will be illuminated red to mark the 2016 Chinese New Year and welcoming the Year of the Monkey.

The City of Sydney is pleased to announce Westpac as Principal Partner of Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival for the next two years and together they are painting the town red.

The world-famous iconic structures including the sails of the Opera House will glow the lucky red colour for three nights from the festival launch on Saturday 6 February through to Chinese New Year’s Eve on Sunday 7 February, and Chinese New Year’s Day on Monday 8 February.

“Bathing the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge in red light welcomes good fortune for the Year of the Monkey and is the perfect way to launch one of the biggest Lunar New Year celebrations outside of China,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“This unique red gateway symbolises Sydney’s role as Australia’s international gateway, with world class tourism, infrastructure, icons and amenities.

“We’re delighted to welcome Westpac as the largest corporate partner of the Chinese New Year Festival and I invite everyone to visit the city, see these wonderful buildings light up for Sydney Chinese New Year and enjoy the many events and performances including the Westpac Lunar Lantern Hub.”

To broaden the red make-over from the harbourside Sydney Town Hall along with the Capitol Theatre will be illuminated for the entire festival and visitors to the city will be invited to step into another world beneath a swaying ceiling of glowing lanterns in Martin Place where you can meet up with friends, grab a drink and bite to eat at the Westpac Lunar Lantern Hub.

In Chinese culture, red symbolises good fortune and joy. It is believed to be an auspicious colour for warding off evil and also represents vitality and celebration.

Sydney’s Chinese New Year celebrations attract more than 600,000 local and international visitors to Sydney, making it one of the most popular events in Sydney’s calendar and a boost to the local economy.

The City’s 2016 Chinese New Year Festival curator, Claudia Chan Shaw, said lighting the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House is symbolic of creating a new red gateway to the city, welcoming the new festival format and its expansion across the city.

“Lighting these iconic buildings sets the scene for a uniquely Sydney-style Chinese New Year on a global scale,” Claudia said.

“Following the enormous success of the 2015 Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at Dawes Point the new red gateway lighting along with the new Lunar Lanterns across the city and the Westpac Lunar Lantern Hub will ensure Sydney’s 2016 Chinese New Year is bigger and better than ever.”

“We’re delighted to celebrate these important ties by partnering with the City of Sydney for the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, and to wish you success, prosperity and good luck in the Year of the Monkey. Kung Hei Fat Choy!” said Westpac Group CEO, Brian Hartzer.

Sydney’s Chinese New Year celebrations will run from 6–21 February. The festival will include favourite events like the Dragon Boat Races, Lunar Feasts and more than 80 associated events.

The red light projections times and dates:

  • Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay station - Saturday 6 to Monday 8 February, from 8pm until midnight.
  • Sydney Town Hall – Saturday 6 to Sunday 21 February, from 8pm until midnight.
  • Capitol Theatre, courtesy of The Sound of Music – Saturday 6 to Sunday 21 February, from 8pm until midnight.
  • Westpac Lunar Lantern Hub, Martin Place – Saturday 6 to Sunday 14, from 8pm until midnight.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival will be Lunar Lanterns running 6–14 February. For more information visit

For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Event Publicist Sandy Ellison on 02 8974 4142 or email or Senior Publicist Elaine Kelly on 02 9265 9201 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Paul Mackay on 0432 182 647 or email

For interviews with Westpac Group CEO, Brian Hartzer, contact Media Manager, Dianne Edwards 0421 623 014 or email

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