Sydney roars into the Year of the Tiger

As part of this year's Lunar New Year Festival celebrating the Year of the Tiger, lion dancers will be on Sydney streets by day and night. Photo: supplied.


Sydney residents can roar their way into the Lunar New Year, with the city set to celebrate the Year of the Tiger. The City of Sydney Council has many activities and celebrations planned as residents and tourists are welcomed into the city centre and Chinatown.

From 28 January to 13 February, the city will be lit up with more than 80 events, exhibitions, concerts, outdoor displays and celebrations planned for both the day and night.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has encouraged residents to experience and explore the fantastically diverse program through the food, culture and community over the 16 days.

“There’s no doubt the past two years have been incredibly tough for our residents and local businesses, who have endured endless lockdowns and seen trade suffer,” Moore said.

“But in the Year of the Tiger, Sydney is ready to roar again, and we’re going to make sure there’s lots to celebrate, from Haymarket to the Rocks, from Cockle Bay to the CBD.

“Our festival is the largest celebration of the Lunar New Year outside Asia. For more than two decades, this unique and internationally recognised event has played a vital role in unifying Sydney, strengthening our cultural relationships and supporting local businesses of all shapes and sizes.”

In Chinese folklore, tigers are depicted as guardians of children. To highlight this, the City of Sydney called on the talents of younger residents to create Lunar New Year artwork. In the artwork competition, more than 1,250 entries were received.

Six designs were chosen to be displayed on street banners, bus shelters and billboards, featuring the creative talents of Anja (aged 11), Chloe (10), Amber (9), Katie (9), William (8) and Ruisi (6).

City of Sydney Councillor Robert Kok and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore pictured with the six young artists, ranging from 6 to 11 years of age, whose artworks were chosen for display. Photo: supplied.

For two of the designers, Chloe and Ruisi, their artworks Tiger Roll and Big Mouth Tiger, respectively, have been transformed into lunar lanterns which will stand guard at the steps of Town Hall.

Chloe was beyond thrilled to receive the news about her artwork being transformed into a guardian.

“I can’t believe my tiger sushi drawing is now a lantern. It’s a wonderful thing that will remain in my memory all my life,” Chloe said.

“I am Korean. In Korean culture, tigers are mysterious animals that prevent plague and disaster. In 2022, the year of the tiger, I hope the coronavirus will disappear and everyone will be happy and free.” 

A few of this year’s attractions include 23 illuminated lunar lanterns representing the 12 animals of the zodiac, which will be on display along George Street and in Chinatown from Saturday, 29 January to Sunday, 13 February.

Despite the ongoing pandemic and Omicron variant that has hospitals under pressure, the Sydney Lunar Festival is seen as a way to celebrate the New Year and bring in tourists. Photo: supplied.

The famous Dragon Boat Races, are returning for a spectacular weekend of competition in Darling Harbour’s Cockle Bay on Saturday, 5 February and Sunday, 6 February.

The 100 Good Wishes quilt installation in Chinatown which was inspired by a Chinese tradition with artworks created by children of Sydney. Three hand-painted lunar gateways on Alfred Street celebrate Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese traditional architecture.

The Australian National Maritime Museum will also be joining in on the festivities, with Lunar Sea launching multiple performances, interactive art installations, creative workshops, tours, trails and much more at the museum and Darling Harbour.

K-Pop cover groups 9bit and Magic Circle will be kicking off the celebrations with open-age dance workshops. An interactive art installation titled The People’s Currency by Eugenia Lim will be set up in Darling Harbour, which will explore the social impacts of globalisation, economics and production.

And for the kids, the Lunar Sea Kid’s Adventure covers a lucky dip and museum activity trail inspired by animals and constellations.

All Lunar Sea outdoor programs, trails, performances are free, although some workshops may be ticketed due to capacity. Lunar Sea runs on weekends from 28 January to 13 February 2022, 10am to 4pm.

The Sydney Lunar Festival has reportedly brought in huge amounts of money into the local economy, with pre-pandemic years bringing more than $50 million dollars annually. Photo: Katherine Griffiths/supplied.

The Lord Mayor has reminded residents to remain vigilant and practice health precautions as the Omicron variant continues to wreak havoc.

“Many events and programs across NSW continue to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent surge in case numbers. As we deal with the impacts of the latest Omicron variant, we will work with the NSW Government to ensure the event is managed in line with public health orders,” Moore said.

“We urge people attending our events to be vaccinated, wear a mask and practise safe distancing. If you are feeling unwell, please stay home.” 

Tileah Dobson is the news and queer editor for the Sydney Sentinel.

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