Happy Chinese New Year! Also known as Spring Festival, the week long celebrations run from 18 to 24 February with celebrations peaking on New Year’s Day, 19 February.
For the Chinese, 2015 is known to be the year of the Sheep (or goat). It is said to be a particularly promising year for those born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991 and 2003.
In 2015, Sydney will celebrate the Year of the Sheep with one of the largest Chinese New Year Festivals outside of China. Visitors will enjoy a month-long program of both free and ticketed events across the city – from special restaurant menus to Dragon Boat racing on Cockle Bay. The Twilight Parade on 22 February is known as the signature event of the celebrations – starting at Sydney Town Hall and ending at the Chinese Gardens. With pre-parade entertainment, building light projections and fireworks, there is plenty of entertainment for everyone. If you miss the parade, the floats will be on display until late in the night at Darling Quarter.
For those planning on getting involved here are a few of the Chinese customs associated with this time of the year:
- Wear red! Red is considered bright, lucky and happy and is definitely the primary colour of Chinese New Year Celebrations. Dressing in the colour, whether a scarf or a jumper, will bring you luck in the New Year.
- Don’t wash your hair! Perhaps this is a slightly strange custom, but the Chinese word for hair is a homonym for the Chinese word for “wealth”. You don’t want to be washing away your wealth in the first few days of the New Year.
- Don’t clean your house today. Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year’s Day for fear that good fortune will be washed away.
- Head for a vantage point in the days following the New Year. Chinese culture suggests that you should ‘climb high and gaze far’ to bring good luck in business, career, study or fortune.
Here’s our favourite things to do in Sydney to help you climb high and gaze far.
Special thanks to Alycia Simons of HotelsCombined.com and Lauren Bremner of bestwestern.com.au for this post.