2020 Lunar New Year festival to return to Sydney bigger than ever
SYDNEY, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Already home to the largest Lunar New Year festival outside of Asia, Sydney is gearing up to host even more spectacular celebrations in 2020, officials announced on Friday.
Sydney is home to vibrant Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian communities, making the Lunar New Year an important time for the harbor city.
From Jan. 25 to Feb. 9, the city's iconic Chinatown will once again stage night stalls, concerts and street performances, and in 2020 for the first time ever, "Lunar Lanes" will extend all the way to Darling Harbor, linking the historic Haymarket with the new harborside precinct.
"Over the years we've seen this festival grow from a small community festival in Chinatown to one of the largest lunar celebrations in the world," Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
"Each year this festival just gets bigger and better. In 2019 the festival attracted close to 1.5 million people who spent nearly 42 million Australian dollars (28.5 million U.S. dollars) during the event. It's a wonderful boost for our local economy, retailers and restaurants," said Moore.
To herald in the year of the rat, internationally acclaimed designer Claudia Chan Shaw has created an eight-meter tower of nine golden rats which will stand guard near the doors of the Opera House.
"I'm very proud of my Chinese-Australian heritage and I'm absolutely thrilled to have created this lantern for Sydney Lunar Festival. It's wonderful to see the concept come to life," Shaw said.
"Each rat is gold, to reflect 2020 as the year of the Metal Rat. For the Chinese, gold or yellow is also the color of heroism."
International visitation is an important part of Sydney's character during the summer period, with millions of overseas guests expected to soak up the sunny weather and festive atmosphere.
"I can't wait to again welcome residents and visitors from around the globe to Sydney for this community celebration, starting in Chinatown where it all began more than two decades ago," Moore said.