A complete list of Lunar New Year Festivals in Sydney 2018

A complete list of Lunar New Year Festivals in Sydney 2018

Where are all the Chinese New Year Festivals in Sydney?

This year, Chinese New Year, Tet, Lunar New Year falls on Friday, 16 February 2018. 

While the City of Sydney’s “Chinese New Year” celebrations are the biggest – there are plenty of other festivals around town that also showcases the diverse Asian community in Australia who celebrate Lunar New Year, including Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean.

There are at least 13 celebrations all across Sydney – Parramatta, Cabramatta, Hurstville, Chatswood and more.. 

Dragon and lion dancing, visits by the god of wealth, art exhibitions, fireworks and of course, lots and lots of food – the video below, from an earlier Lunar New Year Celebration in Hurstville, gives you a sense of the excitement and colour (video credit: noodlies).

Sydney’s 2018 Lunar/Chinese New Year festivals.

Wednesday, 7 Feb 6pm – 7.30pm: Ashfield Town Hall, Uncommon Feast, Lunar New Year 2018, Inner West Council
Usher in the Year of the Dog with a special literary event at Ashfield Town Hall. Join celebrated Asian-Australian writers Lachlan Brown, Wai Chim, Eileen Chong, Isabelle Li, and emcee Sheila Ngoc Pham, as they read from and discuss their work including themes of culture, identity and, of course, food. ‘The Uncommon Feast’ is a coming together to showcase writers who have intriguing commonalities and differences. The event will open with a live performance by Eugenia Teng playing the gu zheng (Chinese 26 string zither), and concludes with traditional Chinese tea and snacks, book sales and author signings. Free event, bookings essential.

Saturday, 10 Feb from 10am, Forrest Road, Lunar New Year Festival, Georges River Council
With the Council merger the Kogarah and Hurstville festivals have been merged into one large event located in Hurstville. As in previous years, the event will commence at 10.00am and run until 4.00pm with a variety of stalls, activities and community performances on stage. For the first time, we will introduce an evening program at Hurstville which will start with a vibrant street parade on Forest Road and a free night-time concert, including a spectacular stage show with a professional headline performance.

Photo credit: City of Sydney

Saturday, 10 Feb 4pm – 9pm: Saigon Place, Bankstown, Lunar New Year Festival, Canterbury-Bankstown City
The annual Lunar New Year Festival will transform Bankstown’s Saigon Place into a colourful centre of entertainment, in celebration of the Year of the Dog. Expect food, cultural exhibits and entertainment, eating competitions, dog tricks and best dressed dog competition, even fashion parades and of course, lion dancing.

Friday, 16 Feb, 4.30pm – 9:30pm: Centenary Square, Parramatta: Lunar New Year in Parramatta, Parramatta City
Sit back and enjoy beautiful traditional and contemporary cultural performances from China, Vietnam and South Korea, take part in interactive activities and workshops in Lunar Land, including calligraphy, lantern making, and cooking classes, and enjoy a Lunar feast at one of the many delicious food stalls. 
The event also features the family friendly Lunar Lounge, Lantern Garden installation, firecracker display, dragon and lion dances, and a fireworks finale at 9pm.

parramatta lunar new year

Photo credit: Parramatta City

Friday, 16 Feb 5 – 9pm: Lunar New Year Celebrations, Blacktown City Council

Chang Lai Yuan Chinese Gardens in Nurragingy Reserve will be adorned with colour as we prepare to ring in the Year of the Dog. Grab your family, friends and picnic blanket and join us for an evening of live cultural stage entertainment, food and market stalls, Paw Patrol Kids Show and jumping castle, free kids craft- lantern making, fan decorating, calligraphy, origami, lion dance and fireworks.

Friday, 16 Feb – Sunday 4 Mar: Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, City of Sydney
More than 1 million people will flock to 80 spectacular events in Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival, making it one of the largest Lunar New Year celebrations outside China. Find your zodiac amongst the Lunar Lanterns popping up around the city and join the bustling crowds enjoying the flavours and sights of traditional celebrations in Chinatown. 
In 2018, Sydney will be illuminated by giant Lunar Lanterns representing the animal signs of the zodiac as we celebrate the Year of the Dog.

lucky chinese new year food 2

Saturdays, 17 Feb, 24 Feb, 3 Mar: Eastwood Plaza, Eastwood Ryde Lunar New Year Celebrations, City of Ryde
In 2018, the celebration of Lunar New Year reaches its 10th Anniversary and the organising committee is planning a bigger and better celebration to mark this great milestone!  Come along to three major events to celebrate the year of the Dog: Cooking competition is on Saturday 17 Feb from 10am, Lunar New Year Eastwood Night Markets is on Saturday 24 Feb from 4pm and Grand Celebration Day on 3 Mar from 11am.

Saturday, 17 Feb 4pm – 9pm: Dacey Gardens, Kingsford, Lunar New Year, Bayside Council
The event is a free family-friendly event featuring music, food, dances, workshops, traditional lion dances and heritage celebrations inspired by Asian and Chinese cultures.

READ: How to engage multicultural audiences for your brand via cultural festivals.

Saturday 17 Feb – Sunday, 4 Mar, Chinese New Year in Darling Harbour
Celebrate Chinese New Year in Darling Harbour’s hidden pearl, the Chinese Garden of Friendship. There are over 3 weekends of performances, demonstrations, workshops and tours. Slow down in a tai chi class, or experience acrobatic lion dancing, said to bring you good luck and fortune. Learn the ancient art of laughing from deep down inside or observe a traditional tea ceremony in silence. The kids will be entranced by watercolour painting and taking The Emperor’s Quest around the garden. They can also get creative decorating their own lantern to take home. $6 for adults, $3 children.

Friday, 23 Feb – Sunday 25 Feb, Fairfield Showground, Smithfield Rd, Prairiewood, Tet/Lunar New Year Festival, Vietnamese Community (Adults $7, Children $5)
Organised by the Vietnamese Community in Australia (VCA), this is an annual fundraiser for them and the largest Vietnamese celebration in the state, attracting over 60,000 visitors. This is the one to go to if you want to see how the Vietnamese celebrate new year (noodlies video round-up from the 2012 Festival below). 

Friday, 23 Feb, 3.30pm – 6pm: Lane Cove Plaza, Lunar New Year in Lane Cove, Lane Cove Council
Help bring in the Year of the Dog at this special Lunar New Year celebration. The event will include a host of live entertainment and activities including a Chinese lion dance, Japanese calligraphy performance, live music, creative workshops and more. Children will also receive their own lai see (lucky red envelope) for good luck.

Saturday 24 Feb, 10am – 5pm: Chatswood Mall, Chatswood Chinese New Year Festival, Willoughby Council
Chatswood’s Chinese New Year Celebrations will be held on Saturday 24 February 2018 in Chatswood Mall and The Concourse to celebrate the Year of the Dog. This year’s entertainment program includes the traditional and very popular Lion and Dragon Dances, Chinese Kung Fu, magic show, acrobatics, folk dances and much more. The official opening will be held at 11am in Chatswood Mall. More than 30 specialty stalls selling Chinese products and food, information and services in Chatswood Mall and The Concourse offering great retail and promotional gifts. 

Saturday, 3 Mar – Sunday 5 Mar, 9am – 4pm: Cabramatta Freedom Plaza, Lunar New Year Festival, Fairfield Council
A lower-key event compared to the Council’s huge Moon Festival, this one has a Vietnamese flavour. The cultural festivities, held in the Cabramatta CBD, will feature the God of Fortune, Lion Dancing and loads of exciting entertainment for the whole family. 


The Identity Communications team wishes you all a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Dog.

PS. If you know of any other Festivals in Sydney, let us know!


Bennelong By-Election and the “Chinese vote”

Bennelong By-Election and the “Chinese vote”

China has exploded as a by-election issue in Bennelong.

How much will it affect Saturday’s result? IDENTITY Communications reckons it’s more nuanced than the current commentary.

The Liberal Party could suffer in Bennelong as a result of the Turnbull government’s “anti-Chinese” rhetoric over the Sam Dastyari donations scandal according to Australia’s first Chinese-born parliamentarian, Helen Sham-Ho. “I think (Chinese-born voters) think the government is anti-Chinese at this point in time.” she argues on ABC Radio.

By “anti-Chinese” Ms Sham-Ho means “anti-China”. China-born residents make up a large percentage of Chinese speakers in the electorate. However, there is also a significant number of people from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan as well as second generation Chinese speaking Australians. Source: 2016 ABS Census.Bennelong Chinese country of birth

While the perceived anti-China rhetoric may impact voters born in China, arguably, it’s of less interest to those born in Australia, with lesser ties to China. China’s relationship with Hong Kong is still rocky, anti-China sentiment runs strong in some quarters. Taiwan’s relationship with China is complex at best. Arguably, standing up to China might not be such as bad thing for these groups.

What about other migrant groups in Bennelong?

China-born residents are the second largest birth place in the electorate (after Australia-born). There’s a significant gap in size to the next group, residents born in South Korea

Bennelong Chinese country of birth

The relationship between these two countries was deeply damaged last July when Seoul agreed to install the US-owned Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense platform on its land. That led to boycott of Korean products in China. Hyundai Elantra, China’s fourth top selling car in 2016, dropped to number 18 so far in 2017. The dispute between China and South Korea over THAAD is only starting to cool.

China India supercar protest Sydney Today

The recent China-India border dispute played out in Australia with Chinese students at Sydney University protesting against the use of an outdated map depicting the border of China and India. A week earlier, members of the local Chinese community used 70th India’s Independence Day to highlight the border dispute by driving their flashy supercars around Sydney. The last stop of the drive by protest was the Consulate General of India in Sydney (image above courtesy of Sydney Today). Arguably, Indian-born voters in Bennelong might welcome a more assertive Australian stance in relation to China.

China-born vote

Of course, all this talk about homeland politics ignore the role of bread and butter local issues such as health, education, national security, etc. For migrants who come to Australia seeking a better life for themselves and their children, these issues also rank.

Regardless of whether John Alexander or Kristina Keneally wins on Saturday, the issues in Bennelong are  more complex than perceived pro or anti-China rhetoric, and who stays and who resigns.

Additional notes

As pointed out by Robert Simons, when you take into account Australian Citizenship, the above numbers may change. As there has been a dramatic increase in number of arrivals from China in recent years, this could potentially reduce the number of eligible voters born in China.


Top Languages Spoken in NSW

Top Languages Spoken in NSW

Key multicultural stats for NSW from the 2016 Census.

NSW is one of Australia’s most culturally diverse states where one in four (25%) speaks a language other than English at home. In Sydney the figure rises to one in three (36%). This is due to the high concentration of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) audiences in greater Sydney, only 8% of CALD audiences live outside of Sydney.

Top languages spoken in NSW
The top languages (other than English) spoken at home in NSW and their English proficiency are shown below. The top five languages are unchanged since 2006, however the order have changed.

Mandarin is now the state’s most spoken language, overtaking Arabic. Mandarin is up 72% since the past Census, Hindi is up by 27% and Korean by 26%. All language groups in the top 10 have recorded increases except Greek, down 6% and Italian, down 9% since the 2011 Census.

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Note: does not include English and Not Stated. Low Proficiency include “Not Well” or “Not at All”, High Proficiency include “Well” or “Very Well” in relation to English language proficiency.

Top local government areas (LGAs) ranked by the percentage of residents who speak a language other than English (LOTE) at home in NSW.

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Note: Unincorporated NSW, No usual address (NSW) and Migratory – Offshore – Shipping (NSW).

NSW is home to over 216,000 people who identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander more than any other Australian state or territory. This is an increase of 25% since the 2011 Census. Seven in 10 of the community (68%) live outside greater Sydney.

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As always, get in touch if you have any questions on how to reach multicultural audiences.

Please read other IDENTITY posts for data from the 2016 Census on:

If you found this information useful, please feel free to share to your networks.

Credit: Image courtesy of SBS.

Top Languages Spoken in Victoria

Top Languages Spoken in Victoria

Key Victorian multicultural stats from the 2016 Census.

IDENTITY Communications, the intelligent multicultural marketing agency has compiled key multicultural data from the latest Census:

  • Top languages spoken in Victoria, including those with low English language proficiency.
  • Top local government areas ranked by the number of residents who speak a language other than English at home.

Top languages spoken in Victoria (other than English).

Mandarin speakers in Victoria has increased by 85% in the five years between the last two Censuses (2011-2016). It has overtaken Italian and Greek to be the most spoken language, other than English in Victoria. Over the same period, Italian speakers have declined by 10%, Greek by 5%, while Vietnamese has increased by 19% and Cantonese by 7%.

[table id=7 /]

Note: “Not Stated” is not included. Low Proficiency include “Not Well” or “Not at All”, High Proficiency include “Well” or “Very Well” in relation to English language proficiency.

Top local government areas (LGAs) ranked by the number of residents who speak a language other than English at home in Victoria.

Brimbank LGA has the highest number of residents who speak a language at home with over 113,000 people followed by Casey. However, in terms of percentage of residents who speak a language other than English at home, Greater Dandenong tops the list with 64% followed by Brimbank.

[table id=8 /]

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Status by Age and Gender in Victoria.

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Let me know if there are other data you’re interested in and we’ll put them up on our website.

If you found this information useful, please feel free to share to your networks. 


Using WeChat to reach Chinese consumers in Australia

Using WeChat to reach Chinese consumers in Australia

How to reach Chinese audience in Australia with WeChat

Are you interested in Marketing to Chinese consumers? Nolan Yu, a former PR ninja in Shanghai, now a media warrior in Sydney, writes this guest post about WeChat, the Chinese social platform that ‘rules them all’.

You might not use the WeChat, but I am sure you’ve heard about this Chinese instant messaging app, which The Economist has labelled the “one app to rule them all”. The 2017 WeChat User Report from Tencent revealed the average time spent in WeChat is now 66 minutes per day, creating little doubt that WeChat is the no.1 platform to reach the Chinese audience today.

Last year, The New York Times posted a video called How China is Changing Your Internet which perfectly demonstrated the mind-blowing functions WeChat can offer and how this app changed Chinese people’s day to day life. You can even order a meal in a restaurant that has no wait staff or menus.

Today in Australia, users can’t do all of those cool things on WeChat, because some functionality aren’t available outside of China. What functions can we use in Australia? How can we leverage those functions to reach the local Chinese community?

If you want to know the answer, please keep reading…

Why use WeChat?

Even though I have WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and SnapChat on my phone, I rely on WeChat to stay in touch with my Chinese and some non-Chinese friends. In Australia, some Chinese SMB owners use the ‘group chat’ function to reach and directly communicate with customers, and in app functionality allows you to easily share and scan the group’s QR code to spread it among contacts to join the chat group.

As WeChat is called the “one app to rule them all”,  it refers to a features that at a minimum, can do whatever Facebook can offer, including ‘Page’ and ‘Timeline’. They call these functions ‘Moments’ in WeChat. This is where I maintain my loose relationships through that news feed and posting pictures, liking and commenting on others’ posts. ‘WeChat Moments Ads’ (sponsored posts) are available for advertisers, unfortunately, this tool hasn’t been rolled out to Australia yet to target Australian users. Advertisers can however, target Chinese users in China with this feature, and potentially those who are tourists.

The good news is the first-ever ‘Moments Ads’ was just launched in North America, so I reckon we don’t have to wait too long for it to arrive in Australia. I reckon it will open a new door for Australian marketers to reach local Chinese.


BMW Moments Advert

BMW’s Moments Advertisement

WeChat is also the main source of information for most Chinese, including myself, as I try to catch up with the latest trends in China while living in Sydney. For example, on my way to work, I read articles and reports from LinkedIn and The Business of Fashion (BoF) by simply subscribing to their official accounts (almost all major publishers and brands have their own accounts).

Nolan’s WeChat subscriptions.


I also follow some Chinese influencers such as one of China’s top fashion blogger, ‘gogoboi’. The latest post, sponsored by YSL, has exceeded 100,000+ views (the largest number can be shown in the post).


gogoboi’s post sponsored by YSL


The feature of the official account is not limited to just posting articles, as WeChat has opened their ecosystem to brands and developers. You can actually consider it as a web browser, where brands can plug in their online store, offer 24/7 customer service and enable chatbots to serve their official accounts. It means users don’t need to leave the app to make the transaction, which is powered by WeChat’s online payment platform, WeChat Wallet.

More and more Chinese businesses operating in Australia have started supporting WeChat Wallet (or their biggest rival, Alipay), where users can pay by scanning a QR code. There are three leading payment mPOS and POS systems in Australia that are enabling retailers and advertisers to connect to these Chinese payment systems – PayLinx, Dinpay and Royal Pay.


WeChat Wallet

WeChat Wallet


Australian Brands on WeChat

The recently released June 2017 Census data shows that there are over half a million Chinese-born residents in Australia with NSW being home to about half of this population. So you shouldn’t be surprised that there are publishers curating localised content for those Chinese residents.

Some Australian businesses like Westfield Australia, David Jones, and Qantas have their own official WeChat accounts to build brand awareness and manage customer loyalty.


David Jones' WeChat

David Jones’ Official WeChat Account


Local official accounts also mean opportunities for advertisers to target local audiences. Unfortunately, WeChat’s display advertising service is not yet available in Australia (it’s planned for Q4 of 2017). But just like how you work with Australian bloggers, you can directly contact those official account representatives to purchase banners built in their posts, or more easily, through IDENTITY Communications, the intelligent multicultural marketing agency.

WeChat Sponsored Posts

In addition, if you have a higher budget, you can also develop native content, or organise a brand sponsored event with those publishers. The challenge here is that there are not many local publishers with a strong subscriber base. Two major Sydney publishers are WeSydney and SydneyToday. 


Sydney Today's WeChat

Sydney Today’s WeChat Display Banners


QR Codes & HTML5 on WeChat

The last thing I want to mention are QR codes and HTML 5 campaigns. To be honest, I am surprised that I still haven’t seen any QR Code Outdoor campaigns or HTML 5 WeChat campaigns yet in Sydney, which I think could be an opportunity for Australian advertisers.


JD.com WeChat html5 campaign


There is a code scanner embedded in ‘WeChat’, which is commonly used in Chinese OOH campaigns that include the QR code in their creative assets and message tag line as a call to action to drive a direct response. By scanning the Code, users can be directed to the campaign web page, or the brand’s WeChat official account. More importantly, Chinese audiences are familiar with this format, since they have formed this behaviour in China. So when you include the QR code in your campaign, your brand will create the opportunity for a direct communication channel with them.


‌Kindle OOH QR Code Campaign

‌Kindle OOH QR Code Campaign


QR Code WeChat Creative

QR Code WeChat Campaign at Metro Station in China


But it doesn’t mean you should simply include the QR code in every campaign and expect Chinese people scan it. Your content and the way you incorporate a QR code definitely needs to be interesting, engaging. It should offer a value exchange to give potential customers enough incentive to pull out their phones and scan the code.

Hope it helps, please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.

Credit: Main image from Business Insider all other images provided by Nolan Yu.