The year’s just about to start in the lunisolar Chinese calendar. It’s time for you to cleanse the house from ill-fortune and make way for good luck as the Year of the Monkey goes in full swing on February 8th around Melbourne.
With Australians of Chinese descent making up around 4% of the population down under, it makes sense just how much the beautiful oriental culture has impacted our lives. In Melbourne’s Chinatown, the Chinese Community organizations have been celebrating The Spring Festival (Lunar New Year) for over 160 years and counting. This year, the community is going to make quite a spectacle with lights, fireworks, cultural displays, food, and so much more. The best part is, you can be part of it. Here’s where to go around Melbourne.
ChinatownLittle Bourke St, Melbourne
More than a big party, the streets of Chinatown will be a big explosion of oriental culture. Play around with the roving musicians, street performers, and artists as they take over the streets. Get to know the wise figures in Chinese mythology. Let your kids in on the fun as they learn traditional martial arts, traditional dance, and the ever festive lion dance. Tease your taste buds with sweet, glutinous treats like the Tong Yuan and Nian Gao or engorge in a special outdoor Chinatown ambiance hosted by China Bar or the Chinatown Community Dinner. From seafood to ramen, to dumplings, and so much more, you can’t go wrong with their New Year’s delights.
Federation SquareCnr Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne
Enjoy a kaleidoscope of activities in the Fed Square. Melbourne will light up this place with light shows and displays so large and so bright, you’d practically see them from Space. Spot all 12 of the zodiac animals as you walk along Southbank, illuminated with zodiac lanterns. Sneak a peek at the Dragon’s head, peering through the Eureka Tower. Let your tongue tingle from all the oriental flavours as the streets of Fed Square gives you a taste of Chinese cuisine from north to south. Make sure to catch the multicultural shows playing from 9AM to 11PM.
Queen Victoria MarketElizabeth St, Melbourne
It’s all about prosperity and fresh flavours in the Queen Victoria Market as the stunning Queen Street corridor of Opera faces illuminates your path to a prosperous New Year. Join in as the community celebrates with a traditional lion dance as firecrackers and drummers thrum through to ward off evil spirits. Immerse yourself in the history and culture of the Chinese traders, who helped shape the Queen Victoria Market as it is today. Taste your way through the different regions of China as the market showcases the best of produce, spices, and traditional dishes from the mainland and beyond. See if fortune favours you as you try to spot the roving giant Deity of Fortune, Cai Shen. Quick tip: if you find him, he’ll reward you with a lucky red packet.
Whether you’re of Chinese descent or not, you’re going to love the bright and colourful festivities around Melbourne as they kick of the Lunar New Year. It is going to be a bit busy, so you should get your Melbourne car hire and parking sorted out beforehand. Remember that you can always secure a spot around the Melbourne city parking areas beforehand so you can get discounted weekend parking prices.Have fun and Gong Xi Fa Cai!