- Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar, and is celebrated around Australia in recognition of Australia’s Chinese cultural heritage.
- It begins on the first day of the Chinese calendar, which usually falls in February.
- Chinese New Year is celebrated in Australia in Melbourne, Sydney, Bendigo, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra.
Around Chinese New Year in Australia it’s not uncommon to see a lot of people wearing red clothes, exchanging ‘lucky money’ and eating yum cha and noodles with gusto.
Firecrackers, decorated lanterns and silk dragons are also in abundance, as selected Australian cities and regional centres celebrate the most important event on the Chinese calendar.
Australia experienced a big influx of Chinese people during the Gold Rush in the 1850s and 1860s. Many Chinese-Australian families now celebrate Chinese New Year in Australia.
In Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, dedicated Chinatowns provide a hub for restaurants, markets, Chinese grocery stores and other small businesses. These are the centres for Chinese New Year celebrations.
There are also Chinese New Year Festivals in Adelaide, Bendigo, Canberra and Brisbane.
The Great Dragon appears at the Chinese New Year celebrations in the streets of Melbourne, carried by over 200 people. It is awakened every year with a ceremony of offerings to the Gods followed by a lion dance. Between wakings, the Millennium Dai Loong Dragon can be seen at the Chinese Museum in Melbourne's Chinatown.
In Sydney, festivities last three weeks and include a Grand Parade, Dragon Boat races, Sedan Chair Races and night markets.
Wherever Chinese New Year is celebrated, food plays a major role. The New Year’s Eve feast is among the most important family gatherings of the year. For visitors, it’s a great time to sample Chinese fare at night markets and yum cha restaurants. Traditional New Year foods include black moss seaweed (wealth), dried bean curd (wealth and happiness), and gingko nut (silver ingots).
At Chinese New Year, it’s traditional to greet people with "Kung Hei Fat Choy", or "Gong Xi Far Tsai" (Happy New Year) to bring good fortune and prosperity.