More than a million visitors are expected for the City of Sydney’s 2020 Sydney Lunar Festival, considered the biggest celebration of the Lunar New Year outside Asia.

The celebrations will begin on 25 January – Lunar New Year’s Day – for the first time, Lunar Lanes will weave through the streets of Chinatown to Darling Harbour on Lunar New Year’s Day, linking historic Haymarket with the new harbourside precinct. 

To be held from 25 January to 9 February, the 2020 Sydney Lunar Festival will welcome tourists from around the world, as well as Sydney’s multicultural communities. 

Beginning as a small community event in Chinatown more than two decades ago, the festival has grown into one of the largest lunar celebrations in the world, says Lord Mayor Clover Moore. 

“We’ve put a lot of work into creating an exciting and diverse program, from our laneway party opening night to community dance performances, the dragon boat races in Darling Harbour and of course, the food, there’s truly something for everyone.” 

2020 is the Year of the Metal Rat. The first sign of the lunar zodiac, the Year of the Rat heralds the start of the 12-year lunar calendar cycle.  

Internationally acclaimed designer Claudia Chan Shaw has created an eight-metre tower of nine golden rats that will stand guard over Sydney Harbour as part of the Sydney Lunar Lanterns display. 

“Each rat is gold, to reflect 2020 as the Year of the Metal Rat. For the Chinese, gold or yellow is also the colour of heroism,” Shaw explained. 

Event highlights of the 2020 Sydney Lunar Festival include Lunar Lanes in Chinatown on 25 January; Lunar Spectacular Show in Haymarket on 25 January; Sydney Lunar New Year Fair in Haymarket on 8 February; LED lion and dragon dance performance at Circular Quay on 31 January, and 1, 8 and 9 February; Lunar Lanterns on the Circular Quay foreshore from 31 January – 9 February; and Dragon Boat Races at Cockle Bay on 1 – 2 February.