On Sunday 10 February, Melbourne will light up as the Chinese New Year is rung in with festivities to celebrate the year of the water snake. As the largest and most revered event on the Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year 2013 will see thousands enjoy the celebrations over 15 days within and around the City of Melbourne, and across the state to Victoria’s Goldfields.
The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) is excited to announce this year’s partnership with Destination Melbourne and the tourism industry, along with sponsorship support from the City of Melbourne, in offering Victorians and visitors exciting activities to unite and celebrate the year of the snake.
The partnership recognises the importance of the Chinese visitor market to Victoria’s tourism industry and economic prosperity. Following the exciting initiatives in September 2012 with the launch of Tourism Victoria’s first fully integrated international consumer marketing campaign in China, VTIC is thrilled to start 2013 with a whole host of events in celebration of Chinese New Year. This event is set to boost the Victorian tourism and events industry’s already more than $18 million strong annual economic benefit.
Key destinations that will host these activities over the two weeks include Melbourne’s historic Chinatown that travels down Little Bourke Street and trickles off into the iconic laneways of Melbourne, Crown Melbourne situated along the Yarra River, the Eureka Skydeck and Sovereign Hill in Ballarat.
Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle says Chinese New Year was a key part of Melbourne’s events calendar and an important cultural institution.
“The Chinese community holds a special place in our history and with every generation we strengthen our links. Over the next fortnight we will celebrate the year of the snake in one of the world’s most multicultural cities, in one of the world’s great Chinatowns – an area the City of Melbourne has been proud to improve through the Cultural Precinct Enhancement Program,” the Lord Mayor says.
“Chinese New Year is a much-loved event attracting 100,000 cheering spectators as our city explodes with colour – lion dances, firecrackers and Chinese culture. This year we’ll hold the biggest ‘waking the dragon ceremony’ in Chinatown as well. The City of Melbourne is a proud supporter of 2013 Chinese New Year, providing financial support to the Federation of Chinese Association for the event.”
VTIC Chief Executive Dianne Smith says, “This year’s Melbourne celebrations for Chinese New Year are exciting for both our tourism industry and the city itself. We have created a calendar of events in and around the city and reaching to our historic Sovereign Hill in Ballarat. These events not only honour our rich Chinese history in Victoria but share in the great traditions of a country with which we are so closely connected.
“Australia is well known for its Australian Chinese population and we are excited about the growth of our Chinese tourism market. This year marks the start to a fruitful and prosperous year where we hope to see an increase in tourism from China.”
Chris Buckingham, CEO Destination Melbourne, says, “There is a really interesting range of activities in the program and we are very pleased to be a part of a team effort to tell Melbourne’s story.
“We look forward to working with the visitor industry, the local Chinese community and the City of Melbourne in the coming years to help attract Chinese visitors and make Melbourne a destination of choice for Chinese visitors.”
VTIC, Destination Melbourne and the City of Melbourne look forward to celebrating the rich Chinese culture that is part of what makes this city sing, and to continuing to build this event further.
2013 Chinese New Year events include:
Chinatown – 10 to 24 February
Melbourne’s historical Chinatown begins celebrations with a dance of Melbourne’s Millennium Dragon, the longest processional dragon in the world on Sunday 10 February at 12.30pm. Festivities continue throughout the two week celebration including Chinese opera and karaoke, street markets, chess competitions, arts crafts and calligraphy and of course culinary delights from across China.
Chinese Museum – Open 10.30 to 11.30am every Saturday, from 5 January to 30 March
Join the Chinese Museum’s free dance classes and experience the vibrant Chinese culture through learning new moves with their professional instructors. Suitable for all ages and levels.
Crown Melbourne – 6 to 28 February
Crown Melbourne brings the vibrant celebrations of Chinese New Year to the bank of the Yarra River. This year the celebrations include a hawkers market and fireworks. Crown’s Atrium is turned into an exotic display that features a 30 metre long gold snake.
Federation Square – 9 to 10 February
Federation Square will don a touch of China with traditional lion dancing and screen special programs on the big screen.
Sovereign Hill – 10 February
The historical town of Sovereign Hill welcomes in the New Year and honors Chinese immigrants’ role in Australia’s history with a day of free events. There will be performances showcasing the ancient art of ribbon dancing, fan dancing and tai chi along with Xin Long the dragon and dancers. There will be plenty for the kids with face paining, calligraphy and craft workshops.
Melbourne Recital Centre – 10 February
Four of China’s leading tenors are coming to Melbourne to welcome in the Year of the Snake. Supported by Orchestra Victoria, under the baton of China National Opera House conductor Zhu Man, the afternoon concert, starting at 3pm, will celebrate songs from the east and west.
National Gallery of Victoria – 13 February
The Chinese Gallery will display archaeological finds dating from the second millennium B.C. to art from the 21st century and is organised into sections which explore spirituality, nature, Imperial China and Buddhism. Join the free Curator Floor Talk 12.30pm: Auspicious Symbols – Celebrating the Lunar New Year and discover the importance and tradition of the Lunar New Year.
Eureka Skydeck 88 – Open 10am to 10pm, and late on 10 February
Experience the awe-inspiring view of Melbourne from the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform. Celebrate Chinese New Year with a 20 per cent discount on entry until 31 March.
For more events and listings visit – thatsmelbourne.com.au/whatson/cny
Did you know?
- This Chinese New Year of the water snake falls on Sunday 10 February and celebrations continue for 15 days ending with the Lantern Festival.
- The Chinese Lunar New Year falls every year on the New Moon of the first lunar month. This can change between late January and mid-February.
- The New Moon of the first lunar month is calculated as the second New Moon after the Winter Solstice celebrating the end of winter.
- The Chinese Lunar calendar has a 60-year rotation. It is made up of five cycles of the elements and12 years that represent the animal signs.
- The 12 animals of the Chinese lunar calendar are the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The five elements are Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth.