The first Festival of the New Year in Tralee celebrates Chinese and Irish Communities and Culture and promises to deliver a spectacle of events from the 24th of January right through to the 2nd of February next.

Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year (2020 is the Year of the Rat) on the traditional Chinese calendar and the festival is usually referred to as the Spring Festival in mainland China. The event organisers are embracing this concept and are creating a series of immersive and spectacular activities throughout the festival, including the traditional Lions and Dragon Dances in the town centre, a 1000 Lights Ceremony and a taste of Asia food market to name but a few of the highlights.

In advance of the festival, the organisers are hosting a ‘Day of Cleaning’ event in the town centre on Saturday 18th of January from 1 to 4pm. In Chinese culture it is tradition to clean the dust away to welcome in new things, and much like in our own culture we undertake a big clean in advance of welcoming visitors to our home.

The festival kicks off with an opening ceremony on Friday 24th of January in the Mall, where traditional Chinese Lanterns, which will be adorning the town centre, will be switched on to the sights and sounds of a traditional Chinese Dragon, as Tralee welcomes in the Lunar New Year.

One key event for the Festival will be the Red Envelope and Dumpling Day. The town square will feature some traditional Chinese cooking and dumpling making with Chinese music and activities. In Chinese culture the colour Red symbolises energy, happiness and good luck, and on Red Envelope Day gifts and money are shared in these Red Envelopes to share even more happiness. Red Envelope Day will take place in Tralee on Saturday 25th as part of Red Envelope and Dumpling Day in the square. The aptly named ‘Rat Pack’ (as 2020 is the Year of the Rat) will be around Tralee handing out information on the festival and directing you to where you can get a red envelope. Red Envelopes will be available from selected restaurants and cafes in Tralee with each purchase, as long as stock lasts. Each Red Envelope will contain something different, from big discounts in local shops, Tralee Shopping Vouchers and some will contain prizes from shops in Tralee town.

Midweek from the 27th to the 31st primary school kids throughout Tralee will be hosting a series of workshops that will bring the culture and traditions of China to life in the classroom, all building up to the big CNYTralee festival weekend in Tralee on the 1st and 2nd of February in Tralee. On the first weekend of February Tralee becomes a real ‘China Town’ with a series of events throughout the weekend in town, including the famed Chinese Dragon performance in the town square, the 1000 lights ceremony, workshops and events in businesses throughout Tralee, a ‘Taste of Asia’ food fair,  and a ‘sights and sounds’ of China with Chinese music and dress.

The event is developed by Tralee Chamber Alliance with support from NEWKD and Kerry County Council, and assistance from Failte Ireland, the Tralee Chinese Community and local businesses.

Full details and times of all events are available online at and in local press.

See below Mandarin copy of programme.