Crowds flock to Melbourne’s Chinese Lunar New Year Festival

Crowds flock to Melbourne’s Chinese Lunar New Year Festival
Jack Hayes

The Year of the Dragon began in style with excited crowds flocking to the streets of Melbourne’s Chinatown to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival on Sunday, February 11.

In what is the most auspicious year in the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of the Dragon represents a symbol of luck, prosperity, and happiness.

According to event organisers, nearly 200,000 people took part in this year’s festivities which included the Millennium Dragon Parade, activations at 206 Bourke Street and live performances throughout the day.

Christina Zhao, president of the City of Melbourne-endorsed precinct group, Melbourne Chinatown Business Association (MCBA), told CBD News that not only did the Year of the Dragon attract bumper crowds on the day of the festival, but the week of celebrations also saw “lines out the doors of many restaurants,” all hoping to “celebrate a prosperous year ahead”.

“The Year of the Dragon has started with a bang,” Ms Zhao said. “It was fantastic to see so many people throughout the streets of Chinatown, a lot of them walking alongside the Millennium Dragon hoping to touch it and receive its good luck.”


We are already seeing visitation numbers increase in the precinct, which we hope will continue throughout this year of celebration.


“As the Dragon is the only mythical creature in the Chinese Zodiac, the rest are different animals, it has become our culture’s most important symbol, one that represents good luck, prosperity, happiness and strength.”

Ms Zhao, along with her team at MCBA, is continuing to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which traditionally lasts for two weeks, with five days of giveaways to spend in Chinatown.

There are $10,000 in prizes to be won. Among them are a Dumpling Feast for Two at Dragon Dumpling; Traditional Tea and Snack Sets at China Tea House; cocktail tastings for two at Manchuria Bar; a couple’s Relaxation Package at Golden Lotus Spa; nails and pedicure for two at Beauty Face; and a massage for two at Chikurin Massage.

“All you have to do is follow MCBA and the participating businesses on Instagram, tag your friends in the comments section and share our giveaway post on your story for bonus entries,” MCBA event lead Ngoc Le said.

“Winners will be randomly selected for each prize and announced on @chinatownmelbourne.”

“Good luck and let the Lunar New Year festivities bring you joy and fortune.”

Aside from a busy Lunar New Year period, Ms Zhao has recently taken part in a television documentary, The Bigger Picture, that will feature on Channel 7, showcasing inspirational business success stories.

“I was interviewed along with 15 business leaders in Melbourne and Lord Mayor Sally Capp, to talk about our vision for Chinatown going forward,” she said.

“We [MCBA] see it as a destination location for tourists, a place for locals, and a place for everyone, not just for Chinese restaurants or businesses; there are many Korean, Thai and Vietnamese businesses moving to Chinatown because they see the potential.”

To become an MCBA member or learn more about the prize giveaway visit its website. •

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