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Sydney- You’ve done it again! What an awesome city we live in! This year Sydney is hosting one of the biggest celebrations of Chinese New year in the world (outside of China) so get ready for a month of parades, Chinese food, traditional dancing and art exhibitions!

The festivities are kicking off this Friday starting with the official (free) launch with the Lord Mayor of Sydney at Dawes point from 7pm. We’re really looking forward to seeing the ‘Terracotta army’ exhibition inspired by the ancient Chinese Terracotta warriors glowing against Sydney harbour. There will be food trucks, traditional drumming and lion dancing (traditional Chinese dancing in case you were wondering!) If you miss the launch check out the Terracotta Army exhibition anytime from dusk til midnight from Friday until Sunday 22nd Feb.

This year it’s the year of the sheep, a particularly lucky year in the Chinese calendar and also my birth year so I’m excited to get involved in the celebrations! Here’s are the events I’d recommend checking out over the next month..

If you’re wondering what to do for valentines day this Saturday and you enjoy Asian grub, head to Sydney’s Chinatown, Thaitown and Koreatown* for the Chinese Lunar Street’s festival. The streets will be set up with outdoor tables with restaurants offering traditional dishes from China, Thailand and Korea. After you’ve had a bite to eat, head to the Chinese garden of friendships in Darling harbour for the twilight tea party (7pm-11pm) to check out contemporary Chinese art and calligraphy.

If you’re a foodie don’t miss the Lunar markets in Pyrmont from this Thursday until the 22nd Feb from 5pm most days.

The highlight of the month ( I believe!) is the Chinese New year twilight parade which kicks off at Sydney’s Town hall at 8pm on Sunday 22nd Feb. Head down to follow the lanterns, floats and light projections through Chinatown ending up in Darling Harbour for the fireworks- it’s all free!

Chinese boat racing is coming to Sydney! Head to Darling harbour on the 28th Feb and 1st march at 9am to check out the 12 metre long boats racing (an ancient Chinese tradition.)

There are loads more free events and exhibitions going on to celebrate Chinese new year so check out the official website for more details.

Happy Chinese New Year, enjoy the food and celebrations!  See you all at the parade!

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*Chinatown: Sussex Street, between Goulburn and Hay Streets

Thaitown: Campbell Street, between George and Pitt Streets

Koreatown: Pitt Street, between Central and Liverpool Streets

Celebrate New Year … Again!

I know what you’re thinking … we’ve just had New Year, what are you on about, Ultimate Oz?! Well, don’t worry, you didn’t get so wasted on the 31st December that you slept through a whole year and we’re back there again … We’re talking about Chinese New Year!

When Sydney celebrates Chinese New Year, they don’t mess around. For just over two weeks, there are events galore to welcome the start of the Year of the Horse.

See the Chinatown Lion Dances, held on various dates from 18th Jan to 2nd Feb 2014. Watch the colourful and captivating lion dances begin to welcome in the new lunar year at various locations across Haymarket.

Visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship on their open day, to be held on 24th Jan from 9.30am – 4.30pm or see the Twilight Garden on 7th Feb from 6pm – 9pm. If you pop along to explore the Chinese Garden at sunset, you will be greeted by tai chi, music and delicious food to sample.

The festival officially launches at Belmore Park on Friday 24th January … starting at 6pm, this is a night of celebrations! You’ll see lion dancing, get a sneak preview of the Twilight Parade, special performances and an exclusive peek at Compartmentalized which has been described as a ‘breathtaking breakdance, fusing bold moves, drumming and a contemporary soundscape.’

One of the main events across the two weeks is the Chinese New Year Twilight Parade … head to Sydney Town Hall on Sunday 2nd Feb from 7pm and settle down for a spectacular display to last the evening.  Buildings will be transformed with illuminating projections, before an amazing fireworks display scares off any bad luck from the previous year and welcomes in the Year of the Horse! After the fireworks, get a closer look at some of the floats from the parade, which will be found at Darling Quarter.

All in all, the festival will be a fun affair filled with entertainment, food, culture and so much more! If you’re thinking of getting involved and want to keep up to date with what’s going on, check out the Facebook event page for all the latest news! Let Ultimate Oz know what you think about Chinese New Year in Sydney!