Sydney Festival – January
Running over three weeks every January, the Sydney Festival stages around 80 events involving about 500 artists from all over the world. Dance, theatre, visual arts, music, forums and multimedia. Festival highlights include the free Jazz and Symphony concerts in the Domain (a large park in the city) that approximately 100,000 people attend. The Sydney Festival is a great way to celebrate the arts and to enjoy summer.
Sydney Festival http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au
Australia Day – January 26
One of the most important days in the Sydney calendar is Australia Day, which is held annually on the 26th of January and warrants a public holiday. Sydneysiders celebrate around the harbour and there are often re-enactments of parts of Australian history/settlement at historic locations and landmarks. Sydneysiders host barbecues with family and friends, go yachting, sailing and spend this public holiday enjoying the summer weather outdoors.
Australia Day http://www.australiaday.org.au
Chinese New Year – January or February
Australia is home to a large Chinese community and the Chinese New Year is a major celebration in Sydney and in other parts of the country. It is based on the lunar calendar and occurs in January or February.
Chinese New Year Australia http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/chinese-new-year
Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – February & March
The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a three week gay and lesbian festival with arts, theatre, parties, a fair day, film festival, and more, with contributors and festival goers from all over the globe. Sydney has the largest gay and lesbian community in the world and many people come to Sydney to participate in or attend the festival. The festival ends with the Mardi Gras Parade which is a major spectacle and worth checking out. People from all backgrounds and sexualities come to watch the parade. In 2009, 10,000 people marched in the parade and hundreds of thousands watched.
New Mardi Gras http://www.mardigras.org.au
ANZAC Day – April 25
The 25 of April is ANZAC Day and it commemorates those that have been to war. The day starts for many with a Dawn Service, followed by street marches by returned service men and women, and family and friends of returned and no longer living service men and women. Two Up, a gambling game popular with soldiers in WWI is permitted this one day a year and you can see it being played in the street and in venues all over the place.
Easter – April
Easter runs over four days, usually in April (it goes off the lunar calendar) and it is common to go on a four day break somewhere out of the city. Others attend the Easter Show or enjoy the remaining sunny days outdoors till Spring. It is common to give chocolate eggs, rabbits and bilbys (native Australian animal) to each other for Easter Sunday. For many Christians, Easter it is the most important event the year.
Sydney Film Festival – June
Annual international film festival.
Sydney Film Festival http://sff.org.au
Sydney Writers Festival – May
A 10 day festival with over 300 different events including speakers, workshops, literary reviews and spoken concerts. Held at various locations around the city, it is a great way to hear different political, environmental and social experts, as well as fiction and non fiction writers.
Sydney Writers Festival http://www.swf.org.au
VIVID Festival – June
A festival of light, music and ideas. Sounds very creative and it is. Visual artists from around the world transform landmarks in Sydney into artworks. Most famously in 2009, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was dressed for 10 days in various amazing designs. In 2010 the highlight is again lighting the Opera House as well as a dog orchestra.
VIVID festival http://vividsydney.com
Melbourne Cup – November
People often talk about ‘Melbourne Cup Fever’ and there is something about Melbourne Cup that gets people worked up. The Melbourne Cup is an annual horse race, and for something that lasts only minutes, it stops the nation. It is common for people to down tools and go to the pub to place a bet and watch the race. The Melbourne Cup occurs in November.
Melbourne Cup http://www.melbournecup.com
Christmas – December 25
Christmas Day means different things to different people. For many Christians, this day is treated with religious reverence. For many others, Christmas Day is about sharing a meal with loved ones and giving presents. Christmas Day happens on the 25th December.
There is an amazing Christmas Parade held in the city CBD streets, and a gigantic Christmas Tree is erected in Martin Place, an open air plaza in the CBD.
Details on parade can be found at http://www.sydneychristmas.com.au
New Years Eve – December 31
Many people in Sydney stay up to countdown to the New Year. Sydney puts on one of the largest New Years Eve fireworks display in the world around the Sydney Harbour and Bridge. Hundreds of thousands of people gather around the harbour to watch them. New Years Eve occurs in the height of summer and on New Years Day numerous people flock to Sydney Beaches.
For details on events around the harbour visit http://www.sydneynewyearseve.com