Lion dances bring luck and good fortune to Sydney

Acrobats dressed as colourful lions will perform among the crowds at Sydney Chinese New Year celebrations this week, summoning luck and good fortune for the year ahead.

The 1,000-year-old Chinese lion dancing ritual will be a highlight of the City of Sydney’s 20thChinese New Year Festival thanks to the award-winning performers from the Australian Yau Kung Mun Martial Arts Association.

Using dance and acrobatics to create the lions’ movements and emotions and accompanied by drums and cymbals, the dancers will captivate thousands of locals and visitors celebrating the Lunar New Year in the city.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the much-loved lion dances had been a feature of Sydney’s Chinese New Year celebrations for two decades and were the perfect way to welcome the Year of the Monkey.

“These spectacular lion dances have been a highlight of the festival since it began in 1996, and with celebrations right across the city, even more people can enjoy these performances than ever before,” the Lord Mayor said.“A traditional lion dance is a must-see during Chinese New Year and, alongside many colorful festival events, a great way fun way to celebrate the Year of the Monkey.”

The dance stems from a popular Chinese legend, where a lion is teased by a ‘Laughing Buddha’ in monk’s robes and a mask. This makes the lion jump and scatter the offerings he has collected, symbolizing a fresh start for the New Year and the spreading of good luck.

On the head of the lion is a mirror so evil spirits are frightened away by their own reflections. Loud cymbals make powerful deterrents to the incoming year’s misfortunes.

The traditional lion dances will take place at various times throughout the festival, including:

  • Lanterns exhibition, locations across the city, Saturday 6 – 14 February – 6pm–8pmVisitors can use the City of Sydney Cultural Walks as a fun and easy way to navigate their way to each Lunar Lantern. Download the app at
  • Enjoy the excitement of the Lanterns being switched on with vivid, entertaining and even comical lion dancers to set the scene.
  • Lion dance on the forecourt, Chinese Garden of Friendship, Saturday 6 February 11am–11.30am

The award-winning performers from the Australian Yau Mun Martial Arts Association display feats of acrobatic prowess in exquisite lion costumes.

  • Chinatown lion dances, throughout Chinatown, Sunday 7 February and Saturday 13 February – 12pm–4pm

Enjoy a delicious meal in Chinatown and see flamboyant lion dances in the heart of Chinatown.

  • Lion dance at World Square, George Street, Monday 8 February – 12pm–1pm

Jin Wu Koon Dragon and Lion Dance Association bring World Square to life in celebration of Chinese New Year.