SYDNEY-The white sails of the Sydney Opera House glowed red on Monday night in celebration of the Lunar New Year.

Red spot lights illuminated the outside of the building for the seventh consecutive year, joining the already red and pink coloured Harbour Bridge which switched its festival lights on last Friday.

Opera House authorities said they are proud to be involved in the celebration again and are expecting thousands of people to visit during the festive period, 25,000 of whom will take a Mandarin language tour of the building. "For Lunar New Year at the Opera House we're trying to experience a fusion of eastern and western culture," Opera House director of visitor experience Jade McKellar told Xinhua. "We want it to be something that international visitors can enjoy, but it's also a beautiful time for Sydneysiders to come out and experience a different time around Sydney Harbour."

Over the weekend the Sydney Symphony Orchestra performed a special series of shows titled "A Lunar New Year Celebration," conducted by China's Hong Kong virtuoso Elim Chan and featuring a mix of Chinese and European composers.

On Sunday night, chart-topping female music group, the Twelve Girls Band treated audiences to a performance of contemporary hits played on traditional Chinese folk instruments.

When visiting Sydney, the vast majority of tourists, wherever they are from, visit the Opera House precinct -- and around half of those who take a tour of the building, do so with an Asian-language guide. "We now have a large team of Asian language speaking tour guides, ushers and ticketing staff," McKellar said.

"We're really really proud to be such an important place to see for all of our Chinese visitors."

Later this month the Opera House will also host a free tai chi session on the building's steps, ushering in a healthy and peaceful year of the pig.