Sizzle, spark and spice – where to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Brisbane
One of the best parts of living in Australia is the huge mix of cultures that we have going on here. Many other countries have brought their customs and celebrations to our shores, giving us even more reasons to learn about and appreciate our global community. One of the most significant events on the world calendar is Lunar New Year, a time when people from Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese backgrounds celebrate the lunar calendar ticking over into a new year. Come Friday February 16, we will officially welcome the Year of the Dog – here are the best places around Brisbane to celebrate!
Sunnybank: When it comes to celebrating Lunar New Year in Brisbane, it makes perfect sense to head straight to our city’s home of Asian culture. From February 14–18, the whole suburb of Sunnybank will come alive with traditional Asian customs and entertainment such as Dragon Dance, calligraphy, kung fu demonstrations, ice carving and (of course) oodles of authentic food to try.
Westfield Chermside: On Thursday February 15 (Lunar New Year’s Eve, to be precise), Westfield Chermside will be celebrating the incoming Year of the Dog very aptly with actual real-life dog races during the day, plus an evening filled with fireworks, stilt walkers and lion dancers galore.
BrisAsia Festival: Brisbane’s biggest celebration of Asian culture happens to be centred on the Lunar New Year, with the date falling pretty much right in the middle of the festival. This weekend you can explore kawaii culture at the Summer Party, feast on succulent flavour-parcels at Dumpling Day, soak in the wisdom of others at the BrisAsia Symposium and loads more. You can check out the full range of BrisAsia activities here.
Fortitude Valley: Okay, so this one is technically a part of BrisAsia Festival but it’s so huge that it gets its own section. On February 17–18, Chinatown Mall will be getting amongst the festivities with lion dancers, fire shows, traditional music, cultural performances, interactive workshops and roving street performers to welcome the Year of the Dog.
King Street: Come February 16–17, Brisbane’s newest dining precinct is going red and gold for the Lunar New Year. When sundown comes around, drums will roll through the streets as traditional lion dancers perform at 6:30 pm each night – prime dinnertime! With lucky lanterns glittering overhead, celebrations will take over resident Asian eateries Fat Dumpling and Banoi, with each restaurant serving up a decadent Lunar New Year feast.
The City: If you prefer to keep your celebrations central, The City will be going all out this Lunar New Year. From February 16–18, Queen Street Mall will be popping up with food stalls, ice sculptures, dragon dancers and loads of live music – three days of family-friendly fun, right there.
Doomben Racecourse: It may not be the Year of the Horse, but that’s not stopping Doomben Racecourse from taking part in a bit of Lunar New Year fun. On Saturday February 17, the Brisbane Racing Club will hold its inaugural Lunar New Year Raceday – as well as all of the track action, you can expect traditional performances, dancing lions and a range of pop-up Asian cuisine. Oh, and the first 500 racegoers through the gates will receive a red envelope and special gift on arrival– good luck!