Sydney Council has officially rebranded its annual celebration of Chinese New Year to the Lunar New Year Festival, ending years of controversy surrounding the name of the most significant cultural event celebrated by Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and other Asian communities in Australia.
According to a City of Sydney spokesperson, the latest move intends to further “expand” the Chinese New Year celebrations, which has grown from a community-led event 22 years ago to the largest celebration of such kind in the world outside Asia.
“The Sydney Lunar Festival embraces all communities and cultures, whether or not they use the lunar calendar, and creates new opportunities for the event’s further development,” said the spokesperson.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore has announced a line-up of “exciting events for everyone” at the launch of the city’s biggest ever Lunar New Year celebrations, which is expected to attract upwards of 1.3 million visitors from February 1-10.
The naming change came after Ryde and Georges River Councils (which cover areas such as Hurstville and Kogarah) adopted a more neutral Lunar New Year, following public calls from non-Chinese communities.
Korean Safari and its affiliate TOP News, the major Korean language newspaper in Sydney along with some other Korean community organisations, have raised the issue over the past decade so as to call the Sydney Council to stop calling the annual multicultural event “Chinese New Year” but to rename it as “Lunar New Year Celebration”.
Sydney man Anthony Ngo attracted nearly 2000 signatures in his 2015 online petition in the same move.
Image: Korean community’s own Lunar New Year celebration in Sydney CBS in 2015