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Chinese New Year celebrations in Sydney begin with Opera House bathed in red

red_opera_housePHOTO: The Sydney Opera House is bathed in red light to mark the beginning of Lunar New Year celebrations. (AAP: David Moir)

Chinese New Year celebrations have begun in earnest in Sydney, drawing hundreds of thousands of people to celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Monkey.

The Opera House and Harbour Bridge were bathed in red light on Saturday night, although the year officially begins on Monday.

Sydney is hosting more than 80 events over the next two weeks.

“You can come here and celebrate in a really unique, different way,” creative director Stephen Gilby said.

“And you’ve got fantastic weather like this at the same time.”

Mr Gilby said he hoped the giant lunar lanterns would prove highlight.

“They’re really art installations,” he said.

“They’ve all been created and designed by some of our leading contemporary Chinese-Australian artists, so it’s really incredible what they’ve been able to do.”

The 12 animal signs of the zodiac have been set up at some of Sydney’s best-known locations.

“It’s something I think will really change things for Chinese New Year, bringing these beautiful lanterns to such iconic locations,” Mr Gilby said.

All up, more than 600,000 people are expected to attend the largest Chinese New Year festival outside mainland China.

The four lantern locations will play host to a team of professional choreographers and dancers, leading 1,000 performers nightly, from February 10 to 14.

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