Arts & Entertainment

Year Of The Rat

Photo: Ben Halcomb

By Madison Behringer

This year, Jan 25 marks the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or the Chinese Spring Festival. 2020 is the Year Of The Rat and celebrations are set to be in full swing in Sydney across the weekend. The Chinese New Year marks new beginnings and fresh starts in the ancient culture and their new year is celebrated across the world.

The Spring Festival festivities will begin this Saturday with a range of events on offer throughout Sydney over the weekend.

Paddy’s Market Haymarket

Paddy’s Markets will begin their Lunar New Year events on Fri, Jan 24 right in the heart of the city. Throughout the weekend Paddy’s will feature stalls, food and traditional Lion Dancing to entertain the entire family. Paddy’s are looking forward to bringing on the Lunar New Year and Year Of The Rat with traditional celebrations and various Lion Dancing events from Friday through to Sunday.

Jan 24-26. Paddy’s Market Haymarket, 9-13 Hay St, Sydney. Info:

Sydney Fish Market

To bring in the Year Of The Rat and celebrate the Lunar New Year, Sydney Fish Market are offering an intimate and rare Twilight Dining experience. You’ll be able to experience the iconic seafood precinct by night and enjoy fresh oysters, rock lobster and delicious whole fish until 10pm on Fri, Jan 31. Traditional Lion Dancing will begin at 6.30pm and Sydney Fish Market are excited to celebrate the Spring Festival with Sydneysiders saying, “With red envelopes for the kids, it’s a fun evening out for the whole family!”

Jan 31. Sydney Fish Market, Bank Street, Pyrmont. Info:

Royal Botanic Garden

From Jan 25 to Feb 9, Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden is hosting a range of events to bring in the Chinese New Year. From Lion and Dragon Dancing at The Calyx to Luna New Year Tai Chi classes, the Botanic Gardens are a go-to venue for new year celebrations. On Tue, Feb 4 an Astronomy event will be held at The Calyx featuring an exploration of Chinese astrology. The Oriental Garden within the Botanic Gardens will be open for visitors to explore, and across two weeks starting from Jan 25 the garden will host an Orchid Plant sale. Kids are also encouraged to visit the gardens over the Chinese New Year celebrations with Lantern Painting and summer holiday program Garden Grubs in full swing.

If you get hungry along the way you can pop into Botanic House where you’ll find a full dumpling menu across the entire Lunar New Year period.

Jan 25–Feb 9. Royal Botanic Garden, Mrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney. Info:

The Rocks Lunar Markets

After wandering through the Lunar Lantern Walk, visitors can make their way into the heart of The Rocks to explore and experience the Asian culinary delights and mouth-watering morsels on offer at The Rocks Lunar Markets. Prepare for a party on the streets and in your mouth with a range of exciting market stallholders to enjoy, surrounded by live music and lion dancing every Thur to Sun from Jan 30 to Feb 9.

Wine And Dine

In the spirit of the Spring Festival, restaurants and bars across Sydney are featuring exclusive events and dining experiences across the Chinese New Year season.

Aria restaurant will run a limited edition menu across the two week period with Executive Chef Joel Bickford taking a spin on the standard menu to align with the Chinese New Year theme of all things red. Guests can enjoy Oscietra Caviar, Abalone, Red Emperor, Maremma Duck and Gold Leaf and can opt for alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink pairings. In the spirit of the new year guests who spend over $500 will receive a $100 voucher in a red envelope, redeemable at Aria, Chophouse, Chiswick or Bea.

To help celebrate Lunar New Year, and the Year Of The Rat, Hyde Hacienda Sydney Bar + Lounge will be ‘painting the town red’ from Jan 25 to Feb 9. With a traditional Bubble Tea cocktail and Chinese inspired share plates added to the menu, the harbourside venue will be taking bookings in advance for the Spring Festival celebrations.

One of Sydney’s most established vegan restaurants Bodhi will be bringing in the Year Of The Rat with a dedicated specials menu from Jan 25 to Feb 9 and will host a one-off celebration on Wed, Jan 29. The evening will showcase a traditional lion dance performance at 7:30pm and a ‘hungbao’ fortune packet for each dinner booking. A donation box will be available on the night with Bodhi matching donations dollar-for-dollar with all proceeds going to WIRES. Heaven Leigh, owner of the iconic vegan restaurant said:

“Chinese New Year is more than just a fun holiday and celebration, it’s an incredibly important time to take stock of the year past, the year to come and the people we have in our lives. This year we have lost some loved ones and we have gained some new friends, making me reflect on the importance of relationships and the role these people play in our lives. Never has this message of family and friendships been more poignant. What else could be better than to celebrate the New Year than in the company of these very people. 

Sydney’s Chinatown will also be a hive of excitement over the Lunar New Year, with a lantern festival being held in Circular Quay over the festive period and a street party held at Haymarket dubbed, Lunar Lanes. Regardless of where you find yourself in Sydney over Chinese New Year, you’re guaranteed to find a festive event nearby to celebrate fresh starts and new beginnings over the Spring Festival period.

Further Info:

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