ABOVE Dragon Boat race during the Chinese New Year festivities
ABOVE Dragon Boat race during the Chinese New Year festivities

Sydney’s diverse multicultural identity ensures a never-ending array of fabulous festivals in which visitors can often participate alongside the locals.

Neighborhood festivals might celebrate anything from a local ethnic community to specialty food, the arts or a religious occasion, and they happen throughout the year. In Leichhardt, the Sydney Italian Festival takes place in May; at Redfern, the Dank Street Festival of culture and heritage is held in October; and Cabramatta’s Moon Festival occurs at the moon’s equinox, usually in September.

Starting with a traditional corroboree (traditonal Aboriginal gathering), Yabun is the indigenous celebration of Australia Day (January 26) by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Held in Victoria Park, on the western edge of the city, the main stage hosts a diverse line-up of indigenous comedians, musicians, and celebrities to entertain the crowds. Stalls offering crafts, food, face-painting, and more line the park and add to the festivities.

Sydney’s Chinese community rings in its New Year around early February. Over 3,000 paddlers compete in Dragon Boat races on Darling Harbour, a parade of floats and Chinese dragons dance through the city streets during the twilight parade, and Chinatown is decorated with red for good luck.

The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (see pp66–7) is much more than just a colorful parade of floats and costumes. Held over three weeks in February and March, its diverse events include cabarets, film festivals, live theater, history walks, and a hugely popular picnic called Fair Day, all culminating in the riotous night-long Mardi Gras Party.

Practical Information

Chinese New Year

Dank St Festival Redfern;

Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Moon Festival Cabramatta;

Sydney Italian Festival Leichhardt;

Yabun Victoria Park, Camperdown;

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