Sydney to Welcome ‘The Year of the Monkey’


February 8 is the Lunar New Year’s Day.

According to the Lunar year calendar, 2016 is the “Year of the Monkey.” Sydney is preparing to welcome the Chinese New Year and celebrations will continue for one month.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that the festival that started in Sydney 20 years ago has grown significantly as a result of Australia’s strong ties with China as well as with the large Chinese population settled in Sydney.

“We’re such a multicultural city and here we are celebrating a very important part of our community, learning about it and participating in it,” she told AAP on Thursday.

Last year, the cancellation of Sydney’s annual Dragon Parade, due to the construction of light rail along George Street, led to a large-scale concern within the Chinese community, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

This year, there will be three giant monkeys on the back of Sydney Opera House, as a part of the decoration for the Chinese New Year.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Town Hall and the Capitol Theatre will be adorned with red lights, signifying good luck, from Saturday night at the launch of the festival till the New Year’s Day.  An inflatable lantern of the three wise monkeys, in the size of 8m x 15m and designed by Chinese-Australian artist Lauren Tan, will be adorning the Bennelong Point. Other giant lanterns, depicting the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac, will be scattered around the city.

Moore said a majestic box of 700 mahjong tiles will be the star of Martin Place.

This year Sydney is expecting around 600,000 visitors during the festival. A Mandarin-speaking tour of the Opera House has been booked already by 16,000 people.

“It’s a time for family and friends – a time to reflect on tradition and a rich heritage that has been part of Sydney’s cultural fabric since the early 1900s,” the News Corp quoted Festival curator Claudia Chan Shaw as saying.

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