Millions expected to hit Australian cities for Lunar New Year celebrations: agency

Updated 2018-02-16 14:20:03 Xinhua

Millions of people are expected to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Australia on Friday and Saturday.

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Friday revealed that Australia is home to more than 1.2 million people descendant from China.

Of those people, 41 percent, or 526,040, were born in China with Australia the second most common birthplace followed by Malaysia and China's Hong Kong.

Australia's biggest cities are holding official events to welcome the Year of the Dog with 1.5 million people expected in Sydney's Central Business District (CBD) on Friday night alone.

In Adelaide, the main Lunar New Year celebration will be held on Saturday night in the form of a street party.

Eric Lai, president of Chinatown Adelaide Incorporated, said that the event was an opportunity to celebrate Chinese people as well as the culture.

"China and Australia have a very strong relationship and we are working towards strengthening that," Lai told News Corp Australia.

"Chinese New Year is a very important celebration but we are encouraging everyone to come and experience Chinese culture, customs and traditions."

Sydney's celebrations continue for 17 days from Friday onward while Melbourne's 15-day festival officially began on Thursday.

Revellers in Sydney will be treated to a fireworks display from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a trail of 12 lanterns, each designed by an Asian-Australian artist to represent all 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, throughout Circular Quay.

Tourism Australia said that Australia had become a popular location to celebrate Lunar New Year because of cheap flights between the continent and China and iconic attractions such as the Sydney Opera House.

The 2016 ABS Census of the Australian population found that China was the fourth most common birthplace for residents of Australia behind only Australia, Britain and New Zealand.

Of all the Chinese-born residents of Australia, half arrived since 2008, the ABS said.

More than 40 percent of those Chinese-born in residents live in the Greater Sydney area.

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