Lunar New Year is celebrated in some Asian countries such as China, Korea and Vietnam. Although there are similarities, the festival celebrations, practices and traditions can vary from country to country.
For the Chinese, this festival is also known as the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year. It is the biggest traditional festival in China and the communities of Chinese people who live all over the world. It is an occasion for Chinese people to reunite with families, visit friends and bring hopes for a good harvest in the year to come.
Lunar New Year and the Chinese Calendar
For the Chinese, the date of Lunar New Year is determined based on the Chinese Calendaropens a new window, a Lunar Calendaropens a new window, so it can fall on a day in January or February of the Solar Calendaropens a new window. The festival Celebrations usually last two weeks or even longer and end with the Lantern Festival, which takes place under the light of the New Year’s first full moon. In 2019, the first day of Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year falls on Tuesday 5 February. The Lantern Festival is on Tuesday 19 February.
Sheng Xiao生肖, the Chinese Zodiac
The year 2019 is the year of the pig. According to Sheng Xiao生肖, the Chinese Zodiacopens a new window, every year is named after one of twelve animals based on a twelve-year cycle. They are Rat鼠, Ox牛, Tiger虎, Rabbit兔, Dragon龙, Snake蛇, Horse马, Sheep/Goat羊, Monkey猴, Rooster鸡, Dog狗, Pig猪. It is believed that people born in a given year have characters and fortunes associated with the related birth-year zodiac animal.
In Chinese, the celebration of Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year is called “guo nian过年”. The celebration has a long history and legendary origin.
According to legend, the Nian 年is a mythical monster which brings illness and bad luck to people before the coming of spring. To overcome the Nian, people are advised to use the colour red, bright lights and loud noises Thus, Chinese people celebrate the victory over the Nian with activities and practices such as wearing red clothing, hanging red lanterns and paper cut-outs in doorways and windows. The front door of a house is decorated with the images of door Gods and a rhyming Chinese coupletopens a new window written on two pieces of red paper. Children receive “lucky money压岁钱” sealed in a red envelop. Parents set off fireworks to scare the Nian monster away. It is believed that during the long celebrations, some Chinese New Year taboosopens a new window need to be considered to avoid bad luck.
Books, events and celebrations in Christchurch
Lunar New Year is not unfamiliar to people living in Christchurch. Specifically, Christchurch City Libraries have children’s books on Chinese New Yearopens a new window. They will give you an idea of the Chinese traditions and practices during this festival. The Lantern Festival元宵灯节 held in the central city on 22-24 February is a chance to gain an experience of Chinese culture. Christchurch City Libraries is holding the following family-friendly events and programmes to celebrate Lunar New Year in which Chinese celebrations are one of the main components. You are welcome to attend these events.
Celebrate the Lunar New Year with our special bilingual Storytimes and Chinese traditional arts – colouring in pictures and pig stamps. Join us and celebrate the Year of the Pig!
- Shirley Libraryopens a new window Tuesday 19 February, 10.30–11am
- Tūrangaopens a new window Family Place, Hapori | Community, Level 1 Wednesday 20 February, 10–10.30am
- South Libraryopens a new window Thursday 21 February, 10–11am
- Te Hāpua: Halswell Centreopens a new window Thursday 14 February, 11–11.30am
- Hornbyopens a new window Library Wednesday 13 February, 10.15–10.45am
- Ōrauwhata: Bishopdaleopens a new window Library Wednesday 27 February, 10.30–11.00am
- Upper Riccarton Libraryopens a new window Monday 11 February, 10–11am
Chinese Traditional Games
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to experience Chinese traditional games, calligraphy, paper cutting and plate painting. Experience writing your name in Chinese alphabet and have fun with your friends and whānau in this special celebration season!
- Linwood Libraryopens a new window Tuesday 26 February, 3.30–4.30pm
- Papanui Libraryopens a new window Monday 18 February, 3.30–4.30pm
- New Brighton Libraryopens a new window Friday 22 February, 3.30–4.30pm
- Spreydon Libraryopens a new window Monday 25 February, 3.30–4.30pm
- Upper Riccarton Libraryopens a new window (cross-cultural storytimes) Wednesday 13 February, 3.30–4.30pm
Lunar New Year Family Day
Come and enjoy a variety of Chinese traditional games, crafts and themed activities.
Upper Riccarton Libraryopens a new window Saturday 16 February, 11am–2pm
Come along to our special bedtime stories on Lunar New Year’s Day! Enjoy Chinese traditional performing arts – shadow puppet and themed activities.
Fendalton Libraryopens a new window Friday 15 February, 6.30–7.45pm