Lunar New Year
Year of the Tiger
Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is celebrated throughout many Asian cultures.
The festival begins on the first new moon and ends on the first full moon of the Lunar calendar, 15 days later.
The name ‘Lunar’ symbolises the first new moon of the lunisolar calendar, traditional to many East Asian countries including China, South Korea and Vietnam.
There is no set date for the holiday. The Lunar calendar is based on the phases of the moon, and therefore the dates of the holiday vary from year to year, with this year beginning on 1 February.
The origins of the Lunar New Year festival are tens of thousands of years old and are steeped in ancient legends.
Capture your moment with our Lunar New Year lantern display at Centenary Square or head over to Parramatta Square for our Lunar Blossom trees in each lobby.
One legend is that of Nian (年), a ferocious monster with sharp teeth and horns. Nian (年) feared the colour red, loud noises and fire, and so legend tells us that the townspeople would paste red paper decorations to their doors, lanterns were burned throughout the night and firecrackers were lit to frighten the beast away.
Discover the artist behind Lunar New Year 2022 AT Parramatta, Louise Zhang
Louise Zhang (b.1991) is a Chinese-Australian multidisciplinary artist whose practice spans painting, sculpture and installation. Zhang explores the dynamics of aesthetics, contrasting the attractive and repulsive in order to navigate the senses of fear, anxiety and a sense of otherness reflecting her identity. Her work is inspired by horror cinema, Chinese mythology and botany, adopting and placing symbols and motifs in compositions of harmonic dissonance.
- Can you introduce your work and the concept for your city of Parramatta Lunar New Year commission?
It is important to me to express Lunar New Year as a cross-cultural, diverse, and inclusive celebration. It was only a few years ago that I realised I was referring to Lunar New Year as “Chinese New Year” as that’s my heritage. I think it’s very important for us to remember that Lunar New Year is celebrated by many different cultures, and I want to represent that whilst acknowledging my own roots.
With that as the driving force, I’ve created a digital design that draws upon imagery that is not only of the Tiger but also those that are associated with this year’s Tiger such as, flowers, element (water) and colour. I hope the imagery allows for a broader interpretation and appreciation of the zodiac and Lunar New Year.
- How have you represented the Year of the Tiger?
For Lunar New Year I’ve decided to look at the year of the Tiger beyond just the zodiac animal. Looking at the Tiger zodiac as presented in my Chinese heritage, there is much more meaning to unfold in the Tiger zodiac. There is a beautiful complexity to the Chinese Zodiac that I think can be missed – it’s all something I’m still learning about and there’s so much to discover!
This year we have the Water Tiger and its associated flowers, yellow Lilies and Cineraria. I worked with the lucky colours, oranges, purples, and blues as the main palette. The wave design is drawn from traditional textiles founded in Chinese, Korean and Japanese textiles.
I hope to represent a joyful fluidity throughout, and I hope the audience can also appreciate a level of calmness founded in the element of water.
- Can you share what Lunar New Year means to you and a personal memory of your celebrations?
Lunar New Year is an extremely important celebration for both me and my family. It allows us to be all together, even virtually, and celebrate ‘family’ (and food!) but also, it signals a new beginning, a fresh year to be the best we can be.
My earliest memory of Lunar New Year was seeing a Lion Dance in Chinatown. As a kid, it was amazing and so exciting! But it was also a moment where I noticed that this is a celebration of our culture, one that is celebrated and accepted within White Australia. It was seen as valid, important, and one to be shared. For me, Lunar New Year not only symbolises a time with family but a time where our culture can be shared, cultivated and celebrated with friends, their families, with anyone!
"For Lunar New Year I’ve decided to look at the year of the Tiger beyond just the zodiac animal. Looking at the Tiger zodiac as presented in my Chinese heritage, there is much more meaning to unfold in the Tiger zodiac. There is a beautiful complexity to the Chinese Zodiac that I think can be missed – it’s all something I’m still learning about and there’s so much to discover!"
Celebrate Lunar New Year
Lion Dance at Parramatta
The lion dance is one of the most important traditions during Lunar New Year to bring prosperity and good luck for the year ahead.
Head over to Church Street at 7pm or at Lily Mu in Parramatta Square at 7.30pm and enjoy this performance showcasing spiritual and and cultural Asian traditions.
Lunar New Year Guide
This book has been created in collaboration from a team of people from diverse cultural backgrounds, including Chinese, Malaysian, Singaporean and Vietnamese, showcasing what Lunar New Year means for families and communities that celebrate the festival.
Learn about some of the traditions, customs and greetings, dos and don'ts and much more.
*In the print Lunar New Year guide, Happy Lunar New Year translation was printed as Lunar New Year in Cantonese. We intend to celebrate the diverse cultures in our community, and sincerely apologise for this oversight as it went to print. Here’s to putting the Happy back in Lunar New Year.
Parramatta Asian Restaurants
Celebrate Lunar New Year with some delicious eats from Parramatta. Explore Chinese, South Korean and South East Asian cuisine by dining in or ordering takeaway from these great local gems.