This Sunday 10 February marks the beginning of Chinese New Year celebrations throughout Victoria. From Melbourne to Sovereign Hill, Victoria will come alive with several events showcasing the biggest festival on the Chinese calendar. 2013 welcomes the year of the water snake and this year’s event is of an unprecedented magnitude.
Chinese New Year has become an important cultural event on the Melbourne calendar for both locals and visiting guests. The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC), along with Destination Melbourne and the City of Melbourne, is excited to share in Victoria’s rich Chinese culture through the more than 15 days of celebrations. Key destinations to host this hive of activity will be: Crown Melbourne, situated along the bank of the Yarra River; Eureka Sky Deck, the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform; and Sovereign Hill, Australia’s foremost outdoor gold mining museum.
VTIC Chief Executive Dianne Smith says, “The Chinese New Year celebrations in Melbourne are significant to the growth of the Chinese tourism market in Victoria and further strengthen our commitment to our multicultural city. The events throughout February demonstrate Melbourne’s cultural pride and continue to attract inbound Chinese visitors. VTIC understands the importance of the growing Chinese tourism market to the Victorian tourism industry, and locals and guests can expect a celebration to reflect this.”
Jeremy Johnson, CEO of Sovereign Hill says the Chinese tourism market is important to the historic attraction and the wider Victorian tourism industry.
“The Chinese tourism market provides a steady visitation year round and therefore we are proud to be sharing in the celebrations of a culture that is important to the history and tourism of Sovereign Hill. This year we celebrate with free events such as the Melbourne Philharmonic Chinese Orchestra which promotes Chinese culture and enriches the musical life of local ethnic Chinese people and all Melburnians through their music,” says Mr Johnson.
Megan Peacock, Sales and Marketing Manager at Eureka Skydeck 88 says, “We are thrilled to be a major sponsor of Crown’s annual Chinese New Year Hawkers Market which draws thousands of visitors into the city to experience the festivities. As a prominent attraction in a multicultural city, the Eureka Skydeck feels it is important to recognise, embrace and help celebrate vital cultural festivals such as Chinese New Year.”
Chinese New Year activities include:
- Crown Melbourne – Now to 28 February
Crown Melbourne brings the vibrant celebrations of Chinese New Year to the bank of the Yarra River for the eleventh year running.
8-10 February, 11am – 11pm – Hawkers Bazaar
Crown’s Riverwalk Hawker’s Bazaar has become an annual tradition in Melbourne’s Chinese New Year celebrations. The festival includes fireworks, cooking demonstrations, 45 food and market style stalls, and a host of cultural activities, exhibitions and live entertainment.
Now- 24 February – ‘Golden Fortunes’ atrium display
Crown’s atrium has been transformed with an elaborate Chinese aerial structure, clustered with delicate spring flowers, lucky charms, firecrackers, lanterns and featuring a 30 metre long gold snake.
9-16 February – Silks Restaurant Chinese New Year Banquets
Sous Chef Kwai Tong and his team will celebrate the year of the snake with four banquets or a traditional New Year a la carte menu. Featured dishes include Yu San salad, braised fresh lobster with ginger sauce and e-fu noodles, and traditional Chinese lunar cake.
15 February – Richie Jen, Furious
Taiwanese pop singer and actor Richie Jen will come to Melbourne to celebrate Chinese New Year singing songs from his hit albums, “Heart Too Soft”, “Hey Girl Look This Way” and “Love Like Pacific Ocean”.
- Eureka Skydeck 88 – 10am-10pm, and late on 10 February
To celebrate Chinese New Year Eureka Skydeck and the Chinese Precinct Association has teamed up to theme the Eureka Skydeck and highlight the beauty and significance of Chinese culture and New Year Festival.
8 February – Lion Procession
Eureka will host the start of the lion procession as it travels down to the Yarra River.
8-10 February – Eureka Skydeck stand at Hawkers Market
Eureka Skydeck Mascot Deckstar will be giving out lucky red envelopes with prizes inside.
9-10 February – Viewing platform fireworks display
Eureka Skydeck will be and unbeatable location to watch the Crown evening fireworks and will be open
late to view the 10.45pm fireworks.
- Sovereign Hill – 10 February
The historical attraction Sovereign Hill welcomes in the New Year and honors Chinese immigrants’ role in Australia’s history with a day of free events.
11am-12noon and 2pm-3pm – Melbourne Philharmonic Chinese Orchestra
Victoria Theatre – Enjoy a cultural journey through music played with traditional Chinese and contemporary instruments by one of the finest orchestras in Australia.
10.15am-11am – Chinese New Year ceremony in the Chinese Camp
Chinese Temple – Welcome the Year of the Snake with a traditional Chinese ceremony in the Chinese Temple.
12.15pm-12.45pm – Chinese Dragon and Lion Parade
Sovereign Hill Main Street – Honouring traditional Chinese celebrations, Sovereign Hill’s Main Street will come alive with the Chinese dragon, Xin Long as well as dancers and Chinese lions welcoming the New Year.
1pm-1.30pm and 2pm-2.30pm – Performances
Victoria Theatre – Watch a colourful performances showcasing the traditions of ribbon dancing, fan dancing, Tai Chi and even a lion dance workshop.
11am-12pm, 1pm-3.30pm – Hands-on activities
Horse Bazaar, Main Street – Create a Chinese snake, lucky money envelope or red scroll and learn the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy. Kids don’t miss out with face painting as Chinese opera characters and many more craft activities
Other Chinese New Year events include:
- China Town: 10-24 February chinatownmelbourne.com.au
- Federation Square: 9-10 February fedsquare.com/yearofthesnake
- Melbourne Recital Centre: 10 February melbournerecital.com.au
- National Gallery of Victoria: 13 February ngv.vic.gov.au
- Chinese Museum: 10.30am-11.30am every Saturday to 30 March chinesemuseum.com.au
For more events and listings visit – thatsmelbourne.com.au
Did you know?
- Crown Melbourne is visited by up to 18 million people each year.
- Sovereign Hill has long been at the forefront of Chinese inbound tourism development. More than 70,000 Chinese Mainland tourists now visit the museum each year. Chinese miners chased their fortune to Ballarat during the great Australian gold rush during the 1850s.
- Eureka Tower opened in 2006 and shoots 273 metres up into the sky.
- Eureka Skydeck 88 is the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform and is located on level 88.
- 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.