The Year of the Water Rabbit is swiftly approaching, with Lunar New Year falling on 22 January this year. But the action has already kicked off at Canberra Centre, where the team has been installing, curating and organising itself to host a multitude of activations and activities in the lead-up.
Here you’ll find all you need to mark the occasion in one place, from traditional dining options for the big Lunar New Year’s Eve dinner to new year fashion and gifting, kids’ workshops and more.
“Lunar New Year is a widely celebrated and increasingly popular event across Canberra,” Canberra Centre general manager Gary Stewart said.
“We are very pleased to be able to provide local families an opportunity to participate in the centre’s celebrations.”
Announcing the event on level one outside Zara is a stunningly Instagrammable installation to get people into the spirit until Tuesday, 31 January.
The iconic glass floor space has been transformed into a Lunar New Year spectacle with an array of cheeky floating bunnies and lanterns hung across the display floor.
If you don’t already know which animal is associated with your birth year, take a beat to view the Chinese zodiac chart at the display.
Little ones can gain fun first-hand experience making rice paper rolls, banh mi or mini bento boxes. Multiple sessions between 10 am and 2 pm are running daily in the food court until 20 January.
From 20 January, the free Lunar New Year Kids’ Craft Workshops take place next to the Lunar New Year installation on level one.
Running 10 am to 2 pm daily until 22 January, they allow children to decorate a lucky red envelope or fan, make a lantern or get their face painted.
As is the case for many important occasions, food plays a big role in Lunar New Year celebrations.
Between the centre’s many Asian restaurants, you and your loved ones will have their pick of all the classics for your New Year’s Eve feast, including fresh dumplings, hand-pulled noodles, Peking duck, decadent seafood, vegan options, Sichuan-style dishes, laksas, Korean fried chicken and so much more.
Restaurants include CBD Dumpling House, Biang Biang, 1919 Lanzhou Beef, Killiney Kopitiam, Dumplings & Co, Hokka Hokka, PappaRich, Gami Chicken & Beer, Roll’d and Kim Thai, covering a wide spectrum of Asian cuisines.
For those looking to mark the occasion with a new outfit in fittingly red hues, Canberra Centre has curated a red fashion edit covering everything from statement pieces to capsule collections and footwear to accessories.
Red signifies good fortune, vitality and prosperity, and is often worn during this time to attract good luck and ward off evil spirits.
Gift-giving between family, friends and partners is another important part of the Lunar New Year.
Bearing in mind red, yellow and gold are prized for their representation of wealth and prosperity, those keen to avoid the hunt can make a beeline for Canberra Centre’s curated list of options.
Activations all culminate in the headliner on Lunar New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 22, when the traditional Lion Dance kicks off at City Walk at 11 am.
Sometimes a deep thrum, sometimes a rhythmic chang, follow the sound of drums and cymbals to find the roaming spectacle as it weaves its way through the ground floor to finish at Tiger Lane’s Bunda Street entrance.
A thrilling blaze of colour and noise, the Lion dance is historically used in blessings for good luck, warding off evil energy and heralding happiness for the coming year.
It’s set to mark a strong finish to Canberra Centre’s Lunar New Year activations, which wrap up on Tuesday, 31 January.
For more information on the Lunar New Year bonanza at Canberra Centre, check out their Lunar New Year What’s On Guide.