The Year of the Rabbit Festival begins this January in Chatswood with food, performances, art, markets and more. There’s something fabulous for all members of the family to ring in the Lunar New Year!

Willoughby City Council is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit as part of its 2023 Lunar New Year celebrations, encouraging visitors to leap in and discover the culinary delights, entertainment and art experiences on offer in Chatswood from 18 January to 12 February, 2023.

Named in honour of the 2023 Chinese zodiac sign, the Chatswood Year of the Rabbit Festival will feature a wide range of multicultural events, an exciting hunt for giant inflatable rabbits, as well as lantern workshops and parades, concerts, night markets and more.

Rabbit Sculpture Trail

“This vibrant festival embraces our rich and diverse population as it provides an important opportunity to share stories and experiences in an exchange of cultural enrichment and greater understanding. From tasting Lunar New Year delicacies to enjoying an array of cultural experiences, artworks and performances, the festival supports our many local businesses and showcases Chatswood’s accessible and vibrant culture,” says Willoughby City Council Mayor Tanya Taylor.

During the festival, artists and performers will showcase their culture as they make way for a year of elegance, peace and a dash of luck. The Chatswood CBD will come alive with live entertainment, activities and an all-day market on 21 January, the Chinese New Year Celebration Day.

Here are just some of the key highlights on the 2023 Year of the Rabbit Festival program:

Rabbit Sculpture Trail (18 January–12 February):

Eight large-scale inflatable rabbits will feature across Chatswood’s CBD, evoking a sense of wonder while raising questions about our relationship with the natural world, in a whimsical nod to the Year of the Rabbit. The rabbits, created by artist Amanda Parer, have been exhibited in almost 300 cities around the globe since 2014 and enjoyed by millions, capturing media attention wherever they go. Click here for more.

The Year of the Rabbit festival

Lunar New Year Comedy (Saturday 28 January):

Following on from the success of last year’s inaugural comedy event, the Festival will again host a comedy night at The Concourse Concert Hall showcasing some of Australia’s best comedic acts. The special line-up of Asian-Australian excellence will be announced in the coming weeks. Click for more

Lunar New Year Comedy
Kevin Jin is a Sydney comedian and was a 2018 Raw Comedy National Finalist. He sold out his 2021 and 2022 Sydney Comedy Festival runs!

Inner Edge Drifting Exhibition (18 January – 12 February):

Presented at Willoughby’s Art Space on the Concourse, this exhibition explores the ‘third cultural space’ experienced by people who have Asian roots and live in Western cultures as they navigate multiple traditions, influences and values. The exhibition showcases ten Australian artists whose work has been featured in prestigious galleries around the country and overseas. Click here for more. 

Mai Nguyen-Long, “Warrior Cat with Poo Balls” (detail from “Warrior Cat + Doba”), 2017-2023, unglazed and glazed clay

Golden Market:

Visit Asia without the cost of the plane ticket every Thursday, Friday and a special celebration on Saturday 21 January at the Golden Market. Featuring over 35 unique stallholders selling flowers, lucky bamboo, decorations and a large range of delicious Asian and international food.  Delight in the beautifully themed decorations and lanterns and enjoy browsing with peace of mind. Click for more

Chatswood Chinese New Year Celebration Day

Welcome in the year of the Rabbit at one of Sydney’s largest Chinese New Year celebrations. In 2023 the festivities will feature entertainment such as Chinese Opera, C-pop, traditional dance and lunar new year delicacies. Come to the steps of The Concourse and enjoy a line up of performances from community groups to professional acts showcasing Chinese talent until 7:30pm. The day will have colourful lion and dragon dance performances. Click for more

Chinese New Year Celebration Day

East Meets West Outdoor Concert (Sunday 29 January):

Previously a ticketed event, this ground- breaking concert from the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra will now be free for thousands to enjoy at Chatswood Oval. It will feature a spectacular line-up of classical music from East to West. Click for more

Legends and Lanterns – Lunar New Year Concert

Acclaimed violinist, Harmonnia Junus, celebrated cellist, Li-Wei Qin, and the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, come together to mark the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit. They will perform a program of much-loved pieces from the classical Chinese repertoire, including Spring Festival Overture and My Motherland, as well as Harmonnia’s signature piece, the Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto by H Zhanhao and Chen Gang.

This will be complimented by a selection of significant Western works, including pieces by Brahms, and Shostakovich. The program will also feature a performance of Li-Wei’s signature piece, Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme. Click for more

Sunday Sessions – Tenzin Choegyal; Phoenix Collective Quartet

Phoenix Collective Quartet teams up with Tibetan singer and multi-instrumentalist Tenzin Choegyal for a program which takes the listener on a journey through Tibet. Energetic, expressive and at times reflective, Tenzin draws on his nomadic roots to lead the audience through musical works both traditional and new. Originating from a collaboration at the 2022 National Folk Festival, the combination of Phoenix Collective Quartet and Tenzin Choegyal is sure to delight audiences of all musical styles. Click for more

Image credit – David Kelly

Milan Ring featuring Yeo and Rainbow Chan

For one night only, Chatswood Year of the Rabbit Festival brings three of Australia’s leading Asian-Australian R&B, Electronic and Hip Hop artists to the stage to celebrate Lunar New Year. This innovative concert curated by Big Bao will see Milan Ring perform with her full band and also feature a heart-stopping lion dance. Click for more

Twilight Lantern Parade (Sunday 5 February):

There will be dozens of free lantern-making workshops across the Festival, culminating in a spectacular Twilight Lantern Parade that will close selected streets. The colourful, light-filled parade will start at Chatswood Place, with participants walking up Victoria Avenue and finishing at Chatswood Mall. Click for more

It’s going to be an amazing Year of the Rabbit Festival, so click through via the link below for the full program details and pop them in your diary. And have a Happy Lunar New Year!

The Year of the Rabbit Festival

Where: Chatswood

Dates: Jan 18 – Feb 12, 2023

For the full program visit: www.visitchatswood.com.au/LNY/Home

 

The Chatswood Year of the Rabbit Festival presented by Willoughby City Council, funded by the NSW Government and proudly sponsored by ACY Securities.

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