Sydney is hopping with excitement ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations, with more than 600,000 locals and overseas visitors set to welcome the Year of the Rabbit.
The four-footed furry creature, symbolising endurance, beauty, peace and hope, sits in fourth position on the Chinese calendar.
"The Chinese New Year celebration really focuses on one of the major groups that live here, and they're very much a developing part of our Australian culture," Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said on Thursday.
More than 50 free festival events will be on offer from January 28 to February 13.
The celebrations kick off on Friday evening at Belmore Park in the heart of Sydney's Asian community.
Festival markets, exclusive performances, fireworks and the best of local Asian cuisine will be available at the park.
The City of Sydney has partnered with China's Hubei province to bring a fighting theme to this year's celebrations.
Wudang, a form of martial arts from Hubei that featured in the worldwide film sensation, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, will feature prominently throughout the festival.
About 250 artists from Hubei will join more than 2500 local and international performers in the Chinese New Year twilight parade on February 6.
"I think the parade is the highlight," Ms Moore said.
Enormous zodiac lanterns, exotic floats and flamboyant dragons will make their way through the CBD, entertaining an estimated 100,000 onlookers.
On February 12 and 13, the much-loved dragon boat races will see more than 3000 paddlers compete to the beat of a drum on Cockle Bay.
Sydney's festival is the largest Chinese New Year celebration outside Asia and will include exhibitions, tours, sport, food and cinema.
Ten percent of inner Sydney residents are of Chinese background, and Mandarin and Cantonese are the languages most spoken in Sydney households after English, Ms Moore said.
Sydney councillor Robert Kok said the celebrations marked the beginning of a new lunar calendar and the conclusion of 2010 - the Year of the Tiger.
"It is also a celebration of discarding old and bringing in new and celebrating the coming of new things," Mr Kok said at Thursday's launch.
"You have to have new clothes and new shoes and everything's new in the house. So that does a lot for shopping."
*hopping: working energetically; busily engaged（忙碌的，卖力的）
martial arts: any of the traditional forms of Oriental self-defense or combat that utilize physical skill and coordination without weapons, as karate, aikido, judo, or kung fu, often practiced as sport（武术，指功夫，柔道，空手道等）
*float: a vehicle bearing a display, usually an elaborate tableau, in a parade or procession（彩车）
*inner Sydney: 内悉尼。悉尼按行政区划可以分为内悉尼和外悉尼。内悉尼是澳洲人口最稠密的地方。