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Lunar New Year celebrations for 2023 mark the Year of the Rabbit

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Countries around the world are gearing up to celebrate the Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, next week.

It is a huge event for billions of people filled with celebrations and long-held cultural traditions.

Across Australia, cities are preparing to roll out a host of events to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit.

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What is Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year, also commonly referred to as Chinese New Year, starts on Sunday, January 22.

It's the start of the new year on the Chinese calendar.

In Sydney, which is known for its large celebrations, the festivities will occur between January 21 and February 4.

How do people celebrate Lunar New Year?

Most Asian countries celebrate Lunar New Year, as well as those with major Chinese populations, including Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Lunar New Year usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice, which makes it move every year.

There are many traditional celebrations that occur during the Lunar New Year.

This includes senior family members handing out red envelopes containing money to younger ones.

Dragon Dancers at the Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne.

Cleaning the house before the new year to get rid of back luck and decorating the house with special symbols are also common.

Red is a commonly seen colour during the Lunar New Year celebrations as it is the symbol of joy.

Red lanterns are often displayed during the celebrations.

Dancing dragons or lions, accompanied by the beating of drums, are said to banish evil spirits.

Reunion family dinners are also held on the eve of the Lunar New Year

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Is Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year the same thing?

Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year are usually terms used synonymously, however, the two can be celebrated on different dates in different cultures.

The different names can also be used in different countries.

In China, the festival and holiday period is more commonly referred to as Spring Festival.

Dancers at Lunar New Year Festival in Sydney in 2022.

Why is Lunar New Year important?

The Lunar New Year marks the start of a new year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

The celebrations are deeply rooted in history.

It marks a time of year for friends and family to spend time together.

What is the Chinese New Year animal for 2022?

The animal for 2022 is the Rabbit.

Every year has a different animal, based on the Chinese zodiac.

Each year in a 12-year cycle is represented by a zodiac animal, each with its own attributes.

The animals are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

Each person has an animal that corresponds with the year they were born and it can represent important details in their life.

Crown's Lunar New Year displays will include the immersive Zodiac Spectacular display with the larger-than-life luminous animal sculptures cascading down the Atrium staircase

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What events are there in Sydney?

More than 80 events, exhibitions, concerts, outdoor displays and celebrations are planned across Sydney between January 21 and February 4.

January 21: The streets of Haymarket will buzz with live entertainment, roving performers, food trucks, market stalls, DJs and plenty of Instagram moments.

January 21: Chatswood and Cabramatta are among some of the suburbs that will host Lunar New Year 2023 festivities.

January 23: There will be daily dragon dancing performances around the Sydney CBD. Lion dancing troupes will ring in the Lunar New Year with plenty of drumming, flamboyance and skill.

January 28: Darling Harbour will host the annual dragon boat race. Watch the biggest dragon boat races in the southern hemisphere as more than 3000 paddlers churn up the waters and battle it out.

The annual dragon boat race on Darling Harbour in Sydney is one of the largest in the southern hemisphere.

What events are there in Melbourne?

In Melbourne, the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival historically attracts over 100,000 people to the city's Chinatown each year.

January 21: Venues around the city will be pulling out all the stops to celebrate Lunar New Year. Watch on as a traditional lion dance makes its way through the Queen Victoria Market to celebrate Lunar New Year and the Year of the Rabbit.

January 19 – February 14: Melbourne Museum, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Crown Melbourne will all be hosting events to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

What events are there in Brisbane?

Like other cities around the country, Brisbane will host events to celebrate Lunar New Year.

January 21: Expect traditional lion and dragon dances alongside roving street performers throughout the Brunswick Street Mall, Chinatown Mall, Bakery Lane, and within various venues in the Valley precinct to celebrate Lunar New Year.

Is Lunar New Year a holiday in Australia?

The Lunar New Year is not a public holiday in Australia but it is becoming more widely observed.

Circular Quay, Sydney - 9th February 2019. City of Sydney present Sydney Lunar Festival. People enjoy an LED lion and dragon performance in front of the monkey lantern.

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