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Lunar New Year in Australia

Many Australians celebrate Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year. It marks the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar.

Is Lunar New Year a Public Holiday?

Lunar New Year 2023 is a state holiday in Christmas Island and an observance in 10 territories.

Chinese Lion Dancing for Lunar New Year in Perth, Australia.

©iStockphoto.com/chameleonseye

What Do People Do?

Like in many countries around the world, Lunar New Year celebrations in Australia include the following events and activities:

  • Street festivals featuring arts, entertainment and children’s activities.
  • Lunar New Year markets showcasing arts, crafts and food stalls.
  • Dancing, music and people wearing colorful costumes to welcome the Lunar New Year.
  • Vibrant displays of Chinese lanterns, firecrackers and fireworks.

Many Chinese Australian families spend Lunar New Year by gathering together for a festive meal. Children often receive red envelopes with money (Hong Bao, Ang Pao, or Lai See). The Lunar New Year celebrations can last for about 15 days. It is usually a busy time filled with festive programs across different communities in Australia.

Public Life

Lunar New Year is not a nationwide public holiday in Australia. However, some Chinese businesses may be closed on the day or amend their business hours to take part in the Lunar New Year festivities. There may be heavy traffic and some streets may be closed in towns or cities where Lunar New Year celebrations are held.

Background

Chinese people first came to Australia in large numbers during Australia’s Gold Rush in the 1850s and 1860s. About one-third of the miners were Chinese. Many Chinese-Australian families can trace their settlement in Australia to that time. Monuments and buildings developed by Chinese settlers serve as reminders of the long history of Chinese immigration to Australia. Examples remain in towns such as Ballarat and Bendigo in Victoria. The Chinese-Australian community holds a variety of events to celebrate festivals such as Lunar New Year.

Symbols

Lunar New Year has various symbols and traditions. For example, flowers are an important part of New Year decorations. Writings that refer to good luck are often seen in homes and business environments. They are usually written by brush on a diamond-shaped piece of red paper. Tangerines and oranges are also displayed in many homes and stores as a sign of luck and wealth.

Envelopes with money (Hong Bao, Ang Pao, or Lai See) often come in the color red, which symbolizes happiness, good luck, success and good fortune. These envelopes are mainly given as presents to children. Each Lunar New Year is associated with an animal name for one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac.

About Lunar New Year in Other Countries

Read more about Lunar New Year.

Lunar New Year Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2017SatJan 28Lunar New YearObservance 
2018FriFeb 16Lunar New YearObservance 
2018FriFeb 16Lunar New YearState HolidayChristmas Island
2019TueFeb 5Lunar New YearObservance 
2019TueFeb 5Lunar New YearState HolidayChristmas Island
2020SatJan 25Lunar New YearObservance 
2020TueJan 28Lunar New Year ObservedState HolidayChristmas Island
2021FriFeb 12Lunar New YearObservance 
2021FriFeb 12Lunar New YearState HolidayChristmas Island
2022TueFeb 1Lunar New YearObservance 
2022TueFeb 1Lunar New YearState HolidayChristmas Island
2023SunJan 22Lunar New YearObservance 
2023SunJan 22Lunar New YearState HolidayChristmas Island
2024SatFeb 10Lunar New YearObservance 
2024SatFeb 10Lunar New YearState HolidayChristmas Island
2025WedJan 29Lunar New YearObservance 
2025WedJan 29Lunar New YearState HolidayChristmas Island
2026TueFeb 17Lunar New YearObservance 
2026TueFeb 17Lunar New YearState HolidayChristmas Island
2027SatFeb 6Lunar New YearObservance 
2027SatFeb 6Lunar New YearState HolidayChristmas Island

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.