The Lunar New Year festive season will give Canberra a glow next week, and despite being somewhat different due to COVID-19, there will still be the usual abundance of food, light and a focus on family to mark the occasion.
The first day of the new Lunar Year is Friday 12 February in 2021 and there are festivities planned in Canberra all the way from Lunar New Year’s Eve through late February.
Lunar New Year goes by different names in different cultures, and is celebrated by communities with ties to China, Vietnam, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia.
Family celebrations might involve a combination of house cleaning, special holiday food, red envelopes of money, fireworks, music, religious ceremonies and honouring ancestors.
According to the Chinese Zodiac calendar, 2021 is the Year of the Ox. People born in the Year of the Ox are considered honest, hardworking and kind.
Where to celebrate Lunar New Year in Canberra 2021
Sakyamuni Buddhist Centre, Thursday 11 February 6pm-late
Canberra’s first Lunar New Year celebrations of the year will be at the Buddhist Centre in Lyneham. Festivities will include gourmet vegetarian food stalls, New Year gifts for guests, prayers, speeches and cultural performances including an appearance of the Prosperous Mountain Lion Dance troupe. Admission is free and all are welcome.
For further information, call 0412 224 553 or email [email protected]
XO restaurant, Thursday 11 – Saturday 27 February
XO restaurant in Narrabundah will be serving a special eight-course Chinese New Year menu with an Australian summer twist. On 12 February, the dinner sitting will include a lion dancing performance to commemorate the beginning of the Lunar New Year. Read the full details online.
Canberra Centre, Saturday 13 February 11am
The Canberra Centre is hosting a beautiful Lunar New Year display throughout the season. The glass floor display celebrates the Year of the Ox by featuring Ox origamis crafted by children from our community during origami workshops. Find it on level 1 next to Greenhouse.
On 13 February, the whole community is invited to join in a traditional dragon and lion dance parade, beginning in City Walk and proceeding into the centre. Guests and performers will be required to keep a COVID-safe distance from one another.
Hellenic Club Canberra, Sunday 14 February
There will be a free performance by the Prosperous Mountain troupe in the Hellenic Club Woden foyer at 4pm. For those looking to combine Valentine’s Day with some Lunar New Year cheer, Ginseng Hellenic is taking bookings for special Yum Cha sittings featuring performances by the Prosperous Mountain dance troupe at 11.30am and 1.15pm. For bookings, call 6282 9866.
Geocon Year of the Ox celebration, Saturday 20 February 10am-4pm
Bring along your family and friends for a lively day of glowing lanterns, sizzling cultural food served up by local businesses, live music, lion dancing, kids’ activities and much more at Geocon’s Republic precinct in Belconnen. 1 Grazier Lane, Belconnen.
Weston Asian Grocery, Saturday 20 February 12-12.30pm
The Weston Asian Grocery team invites the local community to enjoy a lion dancing performance by Yut Hung Kung Fu Academy and celebrate together. Full details online.
Lantern Festival in Lennox Gardens, Saturday 27 February 6-8.30pm
In China, the Lantern Festival is the traditional culmination of Lunar New Year, and this year the Canberra Beijing Garden will be aglow in Lennox Gardens, weather permitting. The Festival will feature performances of Chinese music, dancing, and martial arts. The highlight, and children’s favourite, is the Lantern Parade. BYO picnic and lantern. Lanterns will also be for sale.
This free event is hosted by the Australia China Friendship Society, and online registration is required for contact tracing purposes.
Restaurant and shop blessings
The Canberra Prosperous Mountain Dragon and Lion Dance troupe has a full schedule, blessing more than 20 shops and restaurants in Canberra from Lunar New Year’s Eve onwards. See their website for the full list, and make a reservation at your favourite restaurant.
Canberra Dragon Dance will be leading the parade at the Canberra Centre, check online for further locations.
Are you hosting a public Lunar New Year event that isn’t listed in this article? Email [email protected] with the details.