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Celebrating Chinese New Year in Canberra

Laura Peppas and Georgia Mackay

It’s known for its vibrant colours and larger-than-life costumes, but the message behind Chinese New Year is a poignant one.

“The new year is really about the pursuit of happiness,” says Ruihua Lin, First Secretary of the Chinese Embassy. “The tradition is different from Christmas, we do not have a story that people might relate to, about how it came to existence. It’s more about how the spring ushers in a new round of life; a new beginning.”

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Photography: Lauren Campbell. Model: Doris Gong. Image from HerCanberra’s Magazine Summer 2016: The Celebration Issue. Full credits below.


Held at the turn of the lunisolar, the date differs each year, with this year’s celebration to take place on 8 February. Each year is related to an animal sign according to a 12-year-cycle (in 2016, it will be the monkey). Lin says regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the New Year vary widely; though the evening preceding New Year’s Day is usually an occasion for families to gather for an annual reunion dinner.

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Photography: Lauren Campbell. Model: Doris Gong. Image from HerCanberra’s Magazine Summer 2016: The Celebration Issue. Full credits below.


It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and make way for good incoming luck. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes. Lion and dragon-costumed dances can also be seen on New Year’s Day; though they are more popular in Hong Kong and Macau.

“There’s no specifics, because China is such a large country we vary in traditions from the south to the north. It’s more about getting together,” Lin says. “The culture itself has experienced some dramatic changes over the past 30 years, in our childhood, it’s very different to what it is today. More people are able to travel long distances, and it is expected that you travel home to be with family during this time.”

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Photography: Lauren Campbell. Model: Doris Gong. Image from HerCanberra’s Magazine Summer 2016: The Celebration Issue. Full credits below.


Lin acknowledges the celebration is steadily growing in popularity in Western culture, which he attributes to China’s rising influence.

“I think China has been moving very fast in terms of its economy and influence of culture, so it’s important for us to connect with locals through the celebration of Chinese New Year,” he says.

The 15th day of the New Year marks the traditional end of Spring Festival celebrations; where people send aloft glowing lanterns into the sky while others set lanterns adrift in the sea, rivers or lakes.

Five places to celebrate Chinese New Year in Canberra. 

Lanterne Rooms

lanterne rooms

The Chairman Group’s Lanterne Rooms, invite you to join them for a Chinese New Year Feast. Special guest chef, Aravinth, from the famous Capella Resort in Singapore, will prepare the banquet which will bring a blend of authentic South East Asian flavours and exciting new ideas to Lanterne Rooms.

The Chinese New Year Banquet menu at Lanterne Rooms will start 9 February 2016

Lanterne Rooms| 3 Blamey Place, Campbell Shops | Begins 9 Feb 2016 | 6249 6889 | Facebook @Lanterne-Rooms



To bring in the year of the Monkey, XO will be hosting a very special service from 8 to 20 February.

XO’s chefs have crafted an 8 course-tasting menu that explores classic flavours of China. At $80 per head, they will take you through their interpretation of modern Chinese New Year’s dining, using the best local and regional ingredients.

XO | 16 Iluka Street, Narrabundah | 8 February – 20 February | $80 per head |

Chinese New Year Family Day 



Begin the Year of the Monkey with a range of fun activities for the whole family at the National Library of Australia.

Get the kids involved with lantern-making, kite-flying, puppetry and cultural displays, all while learning about 300 years of culture and tradition in Celestial Empire: Life in China, 1644-1911, the National Library of Australia’s current exhibition.

National Library of Australia, Parkes Place, Parkes | Sunday, 7 Feb 2016, 2 – 4pm | Free |

Lantern Festival 2016 

beijing garden


The new Beijing Garden will be decorated with a multitude of Chinese Lanterns and lights for the Chinese New Year. There will be performances including Chinese traditional music, children’s dances, martial arts and the lion dance.

There will also be a hand made lantern competition and a lantern parade. Take your own lantern or you can buy one there. There will be prizes for the best hand-made lantern.

Beijing Garden, Lennox Gardens, Flyn Place, Yarralumla | Saturday, 27 Feb 2016, 6 – 8:30pm | Free |

National Multicultural Festival

Chinese performers at the Multicultural Festival 2015. Image via

Chinese performers at the Multicultural Festival 2015. Image via


Get ready for the colours, sights, sounds and most importantly flavours, of the National Multicultural Festival. This year’s festival will feature all the key events and performances it’s renowned for, including the Chinese New Year showcase.

Canberra City | 12 – 14-29 February | Free |

Credits for featured image 

Fan- Tree Of Life, $20.00

Bangle- Tree Of Life $20.00

Playsuit- Zara$49.00

Necklaces- Sass N Bide $250

Belt- Lincraft POA

Shoes- Tony Bianco $59.00

Credits for Six Degrees of celebration photoshoot 

Photography: Lauren Campbell

Stylist: Jessica Rolfe

Creative Director: Javier Steel 

Coordination: Laura Peppas + Belinda Neame 

Model: Doris Gong, represented by Haus Models

Hair: Renee Pound at Meki Hair 

Make up: Amy Capeda assisted by Erin Neist

Location: The Fitters Workshop Kingston

Read this article in full and more – pick up a copy of our latest edition of Magazine for free at these locations while stocks last. 



Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author

Georgia Mackay

Georgia has just completed her degree in Communications and is excited to have the opportunity to intern with HerCanberra. Georgia was born and bred in Canberra and has a passion for all things fashion, beauty and lifestyle. She also, like many of the HerCanberra girls, enjoys great food and coffee and loves discovering new places to eat and drink in Canberra! Georgia is a true Canberra advocate and is excited about, among other things, the development of the creative scene in our capital. She believes Canberra is an exciting place for people of all ages to be at the moment and thinks it is only getting better. More about the Author

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