Chinese New Year Festival Brings The Sights, Sounds And Flavours Of The Far East To Melbourne


Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival welcomes the Year of the Dog with 10 days of celebration

The sound of firecrackers and fireworks, drums and dragons will sweep through the streets of Melbourne from the 15th – 25th of February when the third annual Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival returns to celebrate the Year of the Dog.

For 10 days, Melbourne will be bursting at the seams to offer locals and visitors alike a range of festive activities, entertainment and abundant feasts to enjoy.

From dazzling light installations and street performances to outdoor food stalls and vibrant acrobatic lion dance workshops, colourful Chinese New Year events and activations will light up the streets across the city from Queensbridge Square to Southgate Melbourne, Pacific Art Centre West Melbourne to Docklands, Melbourne Star and Queen Victoria Market. The celebrations will continue post festival at the Palais Theatre and Malthouse Southbank.

“This year we’re bringing the best of everything to the Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival with ten days of festivities and three activation centres destined to bring loads of tradition, performance and learning opportunities for the kids, their family and friends.” said Thomas Ling, chairman of CNY United, the incorporated body established to manage the Festival.

The Chinese New Year countdown and Chinese New Year’s Day flash mob at Queensbridge Square are two of the Festival’s major highlights featuring over 300 performers participating in a 30-minute performance.

Other offerings include storytelling performances, costume shows, Qi Pao, opera, stilt walking displays, martial arts and a special dinner for international students.

The Festival’s lighting installations will include two large dogs at Queensbridge Square, as well as Happy Drum Lanterns, Flowers, Pandas and Peacocks spread out across along the iconic Yarra River.

The Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival will be officially launched at the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel on 5 February 2018.

The Festival acknowledges the support of its Principal Partner, City of Melbourne, Major Partner, The Victorian Multicultural Commission, as well as the support of The Federation of Chinese Associations and Chinese Youth Society of Melbourne, in addition to other key event and activation partners.

Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival program highlights:

Queensbridge Square                                     New Year’s Countdown

Date: 15.02.18

Time: 18:00 – 00:30

The New Year Countdown at Queensbridge Square will feature traditional Chinese dance and cultural activities, music and complimentary Chinese dumplings. The stage performances will include Kung Fu, Dragon Dance, youth performances, as well as Chinese musical instruments. There will also be a special broadcast of the marvelous official Chinese New Year National Television Program, a highlight for tourists, international students and locals alike. Free

Chinese New Year’s Day Celebration

Date: 16.02.18

Time: 18:00 – 22:00

The special program will include performances of many different styles, genres and forms and feature more than 20 organizations comprising of 300 performers. Performances will include a flash mob of 300 performers, martial arts, traditional Chinese instruments, dragon dance, lion dance, youth bands, children’s dance, magic performances and traditional singing.

White-Night at Chinese New Year

Date: 17.02.18

Time: 10:30am – 2:00am

The celebrations will continue into the early hours on White-Night as Melbourne lights up once again with colorful displays and projections throughout the city. The Queensbridge celebrations will feature food from some of Melbourne’s best Chinese restaurants and food trucks as guests enjoy several performances from Chinese youth groups. Be sure to head down early as this event is sure to attract a crowd.

Chinese Cultural Kaleidoscope

Dates: 17-18 of February & 24-25 February 2018

Time: 10:30 – 21:30

Over two wonderful weekends, Queensbridge Square will become a Chinese cultural hub, covering Chinese hand crafts, language, food stalls, cooking demonstrations, traditional dance and performances, Tai Chi, Chinese Square Dancing, Chinese waist drum and traditional tea ceremonies. Guests will then have the opportunity to have their photo taken with Caishen, the Chinese God of Wealth and Prosperity.

Closing Ceremony featuring Chinese Women’s Square Dance Competition and Lantern Parade

Date: 25.02.18

Time: 10:30 – 21:00

More than 200 Chinese Square dancers will compete in a 90-minute competition along the Queensbridge Square that will showcase the immensely popular street dance practiced around China. The day will conclude with a Lantern Parade featuring more than 300 people, in a spectacle that marks the closure of the festival.

Yarra River / Southgate                        Date: 16/02/2018

Time: 11:00 – 13:30

As locals and visitors unite to celebrate Chinese New Year, Southgate will welcome the ‘Year of the Dog’ and wish for a prosperous twelve months ahead with display light installations, traditional lion dances and other cultural performances.

Docklands                                             The Chinese New Year program at the Docklands will celebrate across three of the area’s most iconic spots, the Melbourne Star, the Docklands Library and the Waterfront.

Date: 18.02.18

Time: 10:00 – 12:00

Library: The Docklands library will come to life with cultural performances, traditional Chinese arts and crafts, Chinese tea ceremony and Children’s storytelling.

Date: 17-18 of February & 24-25 of February 2018

Time: 10:30 – 3.00

Melbourne Star: Melbourne’s iconic Ferris wheel will become a Chinese cultural hub over the New Year period where traditional performances, dance workshops, Children’s activities and more will run throughout the 2018 Chinese New Year celebrations.

Date: 18.02.18

Time: 19.00 – 21.00

International Student Chinese New Year Party: Melbourne has one of the largest populations of Chinese students outside of China. The FCA will host a celebration for these students that will include cultural performances from various student groups, a cross-cultural riddle solving competition and last, but certainly not least, a Chinese dumpling buffet. Students will also have the opportunity to have their picture taken with Caishen, the Chinese God of Wealth and Prosperity.

Queen Victoria Market                        Cultural Performance at the Queen Victoria Market

Date: 25.02.18

Time: 11:00-13:00

The queen Victoria Market will be showered in traditional Chinese dance and culture with live performances by Lion and dragon dance troupes.

The full list of programming can be found at

Printed programs are available across Melbourne via Festival partners and their various activations.

The Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival is brought to you by the following partners:

Principal Partners:  City of Melbourne

Major Sponsors:  The Victorian Multicultural Commission

Community Partners: The Federation of Chinese Associations | Chinese Youth Society of Melbourne

Event Sponsors:  Central Equity

Activation Partners: Queen Victoria Market | Melbourne Star Observation Wheel | Southgate Melbourne | Library at the Dock

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