Lunar New Year Festivities Abound As Melbourne Ushers In The Year Of The Pig
Lunar New Year will light up the city from Queensbridge Square to Southgate, South Wharf and Docklands to Queen Victoria Market, with light installations, street performances, outdoor food stalls and acrobatic lion dances.
The Lunar New Year officially kicks in on 5 February but celebrations will begin from 2 February as the Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival will open officially at Queensbridge Square with Lion and Dragon dance performances, ladies in exquisite clothing from an array of ancient dynasties along with a wide variety of Chinese cultural activities.
Among the list of must-see events at this year’s Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival is the Dragon Boat Regatta at the Victoria Harbour Promenade Docklands, where members of the public can form teams to race authentic dragon boats. The public races will be followed by a second Dragon Boat Regatta run by Melbourne’s Dragon Boat Clubs.
With the Dai Loong Big Dragon as its centrepiece, Chinatown’s Chinese New Yearcelebrates migration, cultural diversity and Melbourne’s historic and contemporary Asian community. The event line-up continues the tradition of the Dai Loong Big Dragon Parade on the first Sunday following the first day of the first lunar month, with a range of activities that reflect Melbourne’s multiculturalism and unique characteristics.
Crown Entertainment Complex is hosting its annual Hawker’s Bazaar from 8 to 10 February along the Crown Riverwalk. City dwellers can explore the offerings at the Hawker-style food marketwhile roving entertainers showcasing a range of incredible multicultural talent, including roving Cai Shen and Fu Lu Shou displays. Whilst there, visitors should also catch the spectacular fireworks display on 9 February at 9:45pm.The Atrium at Crown Towers will see the return of Zodiac Spectacular with a stunning display of larger-than-life, luminous sculptures while the roving lion dance team chases away evil spirits, every night from 1 to 10 February.
In a celebration of the Lunar New Year the National Gallery of Victoria presents a day of musical performances, workshops, tours of the NGV Collection, talks and food exploring Chinese art and culture on 9 February. Visitors can opt for a Chinese Art Curator’s tour, followed by a traditional paper cutting or couplets (‘Chun Lian’) illustration workshops then watch a performance by the Film School Collective.
Family fun can be had at the Immigration Museum with a full day of activities presented by local cultural learning group Funese. Activities include shadow play performances, Chinese Zodiac soft clay making and blow painting workshops. Bookings essential
Those preferring something different can head to Sea Life Melbourne to watch a Dragon dance with a twist – underwater. From 5 to 7 February, this underwater Dragon dance will run at limited times – 11am and 2pm. Other Lunar New Year activities include Creature Talks in Mandarin and a chance to win Lucky Money – 288RMB per day.
Shoppers at Melbourne Central will literally see pigs fly as they are welcomed to the shopping mall by a unique pig-stallation suspended at Melbourne Central’s Shot Tower Square. Those with a sweet tooth can indulge in kitsch pig-themed sweet treats crafted by some of Melbourne Central’s favourite eateries. Mouth-watering one-off delectables by Cupcake Central, Gingerbread Corner and Walker’s Doughnuts will be up for grabs from Tuesday 5 February until Sunday 10 February.
Indulge with family and friends
This year, The Hotel Windsor will be offering a Chinese New Year Afternoon Tea menu (5 to 19 February) to celebrate its links to Melbourne’s Chinese community (the hotel was built on the riches of the Gold Rush). The festive menu was created by award-winning Melbourne restaurant Sunda’s Head Chef, Khanh Nguyen, and features a contemporary South East Asian twist. Think Mushroom XO rice balls with a soy milk custard, a modern prawn toast, five spice pork rillettes sandwiches and egg jam.
From 5 – 19 February, diners at Hop Sing Bar & Food at Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens can indulge in pork and water chestnut dumplings, shredded pork spring rolls and pork belly bao to complement the restaurants regular Asian-fusion menu. Sip on a Chinese New Year cocktail, specially curated to accompany the delicious pork dishes. The hotel will add pork dumplings and BBQ pork buns to their breakfast buffet, and hotel guests will be blessed with good fortune throughout their stay with small tokens of gesture.
At Pullman Melbourne Albert Park, guests will be offered a ‘Year of the Pig’ special menu, available from 4 – 10 February, with a selection of modern Chinese dishes, including twice cooked sticky pork belly, crispy skin duck breast, steamed shelled scallops and a decadent deep-fried ice cream with lychee and raspberry. On Saturday 9 February, cuisine turns to a Chinese New Year Seafood Buffet, featuring an impressive array of seafood, dim sum station, roast pork with crackling, salad and hot buffet alongside an extensive dessert selection.
To celebrate the Year of the Pig, Spice Temple will be presenting a special Chinese New Year banquet menu showcasing nine exquisite dishes from 1 to 10 February. This special menu has been created to incorporate ingredients that promote Prosperity, Happiness, Wealth, Longevity and Rejuvenation during the New Year festivities.