Thousands will gather at Forest Road, Hurstville this Saturday to celebrate the 2020 Lunar New Year Festival and welcome the Year of the Rat.
Georges River Council Mayor Kevin Greene said the festival is a spectacular celebration which attracts up to 50,000 residents and visitors, and showcases the very that Hurstville has to offer.
"The ongoing success of our Lunar New Year Festival is a testament to the support of local community members and local businesses," Councillor Greene said.
"Lunar New Year Festival is a wonderful, colourful and exciting celebration of our diverse community, and offers an incredible array of activities, performances and food stalls to satisfy people of all ages.
"There will be dazzling traditional lion and dragon dances and acrobatics, and I encourage people to come early to enjoy a spectacular parade of floats, which includes our popular inflatable zodiac animals.
"Hello Kitty will be making an appearance, with her distinctive red bow, and in a very exciting addition to this year's Lunar New Year Festival there will be finalists from the 'Live Sing China Australia Audition', also known as The Voice of China Australia.
"This is the biggest Chinese singing contest in Australia, and the winner will get a wild card to go straight to the final stage of the 'Sing China' TV show, which will air worldwide.
"We will have many performers from the local area including community groups, singing, dancing and instrumental acts. There will be plenty of action and excitement away from the stage as well, with stilt walkers, jugglers and the zodiac animals roaming around.
"This year there will be a Wishing Tree Forest, and attendees are invited to write down their wishes for the New Year and add them to the trees.
"There will be a Circus Workshop for children, where they can learn to juggle, hula hoop and more! There will also be a huge Tumbletown Play Centre, fully equipped with a ball pit, slides and plenty of things for kids to climb.
"The incredibly popular and exciting Waikato drummers will be holding workshops as well as performing throughout the day.
"And there's a live mural to be painted by artist Chris Yee, along with activities such as origami, face painting and umbrella art," Cr Greene said.
In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Because of their reproduction rate, married couples also prayed to them for children. Rats are clever, quick thinkers; successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life.
Recent years of the Rat are: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020.
According to the 2020 Chinese horoscope, the Lunar New Year starts on Saturday, January 25th and ends February 11th, 2020.
The Rat is the first sign from the 12 animals cycle of Chinese astrology and for this reason 2020 is considered a year of new beginnings and renewals.
Georges River Council's Lunar New Year Festival will be held on Saturday 18 January from 10.00am to 5.00pm at Forest Road, Hurstville.
For more information please go to https://www.georgesriver.nsw.gov.au/Community/Events/Council-Events/Lunar-New-Year
Lunar New Year Program:
10am: Official Lunar New Year Parade
10.40am - Opening ceremony
11.30am -Harmonlodies Cantonese Opera
11.48am - St George Community Wushu Centre
12.01pm - Happy Singing Tribe
12.14pm - Hello Kitty
12.42pm - Sing China Australia
1.15pm - Wadaiko Radio Australia
1.38pm - Traditional Dragon Dancing
2pm - Free Drumming Workshop
2.34pm - Sydney Hills Garden Shire Chinese Folk and Art Inc.
2.47pm - Mung Mung
3.09pm - Ocean Dream Artistic Group
3.22 pm - Hokien Huay Kuan Arts Group
3.30pm - Australia Oriental Dance Group
3.56pm Faun Dafa
4.09pm - Epoch Times
4.22pm MCC Dance Group
4.31 pm - Good Fortune Young Chun Kung Fu
4.44pm - Academy of Chinese Culture Incorporate
4.52pm - Festival concludes.