Experiencing Lunar New Year at Christchurch City Libraries

Lunar New Year is coming soon! The Year of the Tiger will be celebrated with various activities at libraries from 27 January to 16 February 2022. They include music, performances, bilingual stories, crafts, games afterschool fun, and more.

The celebration of the traditional festival is usually launched with the lion dance. Chinese people believe that the lion represents power and courage. The lion dance can dispel evil spirits and bring fortune and happiness to people. Following the tradition, the Lion Dance Workshop held at Te Hapua Halswell Library on 27 January will be a curtain-raiser to the celebration. 

This workshop will be presented by Qiao Yi Hong De Lion Dance Team Christchurch紐西蘭基督城僑藝弘德醒獅團 and library staff. The Qiao Yi Lion Dance Team introduced this aspect of Chinese cultural heritage to New Zealand 26 years ago. Since then, the lion dance has gradually gained its reputation and the Team has been invited to perform at various local and national festivals, functions, and events. The members of the Team hope their performance can showcase Chinese cultural heritage while bringing blessing, happiness, and health to New Zealanders. In this Workshop, they will show you the basics of lion dance with creative and joyful activities. 

The two-hour workshop consists of three parts. First, you will join us to make your own lion head. The lion's head frame is traditionally made with a mixture of paper and glue over a bamboo frame covered with gauze. Then, it is painted and decorated with fur and various materials. Decorations vary to represent male and female lions and different lion dance styles. In this workshop, you will learn how to make the elements of a lion head such as eyes, the horn, and the mouth with recycled materials. You will be able to use your imagination when decorating the head.

The second part of the workshop is to learn the basic movements of lion dance. The southern and the northern style of lion dance have different movements and symbolic meanings. The southern lion dance has its roots in Chinese folk art, whereas the northern lion dance originated from the Chinese Imperial court and has close relations to Chinese martial arts. The southern lion dance is performed to mimic a lion's behaviour like scratching, shaking of the body, and licking of fur. In this workshop, the coach will teach movements of the southern lion dance style as Qiao Yi Lion Dance Team Christchurch is a "descendant" of the lion dance family tree of the southern lion dance style.  

Finally, you will join a little Lion Dance Parade proceeding from the entrance of Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre into the library. In this parade, you will wear the lion head you have just made and practice the movements you have just learned. In this way, you can enjoy yourself while sending a message of good luck to others. 

You are welcome to join us at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre either as a performer or as part of the audience to start your Lunar New Year experience. Then, you can continue your cultural adventure at multiple libraries. 

The two events during the weekend are suitable for families.They are Lunar New Year Family Day at Upper Riccarton Library on 29 January and Lunar New Year Celebration at Tūranga on 12 February. You can learn traditional games, try crafts, join themed activities, and enjoy performances.  

Lunar New Year Bilingual Wā Kōrero Storytimes and Wā Pēpi Babytimes will be held at seven libraries for young children and their caregivers. Interesting stories, crafts, and music will be presented during the storytimes and babytimes. A Chinese traditional music player will be invited to the storytimes at Te Hāpua on 10 February to co-present a session. 

Lunar New Year afterschool activities sessions will be run at nine libraries, bringing traditional games and crafts for school students and families. 

If you want to learn how to play Mahjong, a Chinese traditional board game, both Te Hāpua Halswell Library and Tūranga will run a couple of sessions for beginners. 

With these events and activities, we would like to extend our best wishes to you and your family. Wish your 2022 is healthy and prosperous! 

新年快乐! 恭喜发财!

Happy New Year! Wish You Prosperity and Good Luck!