When you look towards Docklands on Thursday evening (19 February), you’ll see the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel beaming red and gold lights across the night sky to welcome the Year of the Goat. Why? Both colours are significant in the Chinese culture.

Red is all about good fortune and joy. During New Year festivities, children will often be given money in red envelopes as a blessing for the year to come. It symbolises prosperity in their futures. If you’ve ever attended a Chinese wedding, you’ll have noticed red is well represented. After all it is the shade of good luck and happiness.

Gold (or yellow), on the other hand, is considered one of the most beautiful hues and was used widely in ancient China where it was the symbolic colour of the five legendary emperors. You can see it used as decoration throughout the royal palaces and temples of Imperial China. It signifies neutrality – it’s said to generate yin and yang – and good luck. Unlike in western cultures, where yellow is often used to represent cowardice, in China it equates to heroism.

The red and gold lights of Melbourne Star will be a one-off event, taking place from dusk until midnight on 19 February and making the perfect backdrop for Melbourne’s Chinese New Year celebrations. The Melbourne Star will operate as normal on the night, with the last flight departing at 9.30pm.