Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year is celebrated in China, Korea, and around the world.

Lunar New Year 2020

In 2020 the Year of the Rat begins on Saturday 25 January. Join us for spectacular Lunar New Year events across the network.

Lunar New Year at the library 2020

The Lunar New Year 2020 falls on Saturday 25 January, and the festival will last to Saturday 8 February 2020.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2020 is the Year of the Rat. The Year of the Rat symbolizes strength and fortune, and is auspicious for all new beginnings. It is a time to turn a new leaf and take a fresh look at the world.

We are celebrating Lunar New Year 2020 across the network with events and programmes such as:

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we made the difficult decision to cancel the Lunar New Year event on 1 February at Tūranga. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your understanding.

Colouring competition

Lunar New Year colouring contest.

Colour in this sheet, drop it back to your library, and be in to win.

Winners will be notified by Friday 21 February 2020.

Download colouring contest [96KB PDF]


Lantern Festival gallery

Lantern Festival

View photos from Christchurch Lantern Festivals over the years.

Lunar New Year songs

Library staff perform songs that celebrate Lunar New Year.

Happy New Year song

See the dragon dance and prance

Dumpling song

Dragon, dragon dance around


In the lunar calendar each month begins on the darkest day. The New Year falls on the second new moon after the winter equinox in the northern hemisphere. Matariki, the Māori New Year, is held in June, and is a similar new year celebration for the southern hemisphere.

The actual day of the Lunar New Year varies, falling between mid January and mid February.

The Chinese zodiac

The Chinese zodiac links twelve animals to a cycle of twelve years. Many people believe that a person born in a particular animal’s year will have the personality traits of that animal.

Chinese Zodiac art and crafts

Simple paper craft activities based on the animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Lunar New Year traditions

The festival heralds the arrival of spring and the reunion of the family. Houses are cleaned from top to bottom to remove traces of old misfortune. New outfits are brought and bills paid. The Kitchen God who watches over the household all year makes his report to the Jade Emperor deciding the fate of every family. To gain his favour he is offered the best food and his lips are covered with honey.

People paste new wood-block prints called nianhua and New Year’s couplets called chunlian on their doorways. Nianhua use symbols of fish for abundance, dragons for power, butterflies for longevity, bats for good luck, and seeds or melons for children to convey hopes for the coming year. Chunlian couplets are written on vertical strips of red paper in the best calligraphic style, expressing happy and hopeful thoughts for the coming year.

Red is a dominant colour for new year decorations and fortune telling is a popular event at this time.

Online resources

Chinese language course providers

Chinese language course providers. From CINCH, our Community Information Christchurch database.

Mango Languages

Mango is an online language learning system that can help you learn the most popular languages in the world.

Chinese organisations

A listing of Chinese organisations, reflecting a range of cultural, arts and Church associations. From CINCH.

Chinese books and resources

Chinese migration to Christchurch

In the 2013 Census 12,486 people in Christchurch identified themselves as ethnic Chinese – this included Taiwanese, Malaysian Chinese, and mainland Chinese1. This represents an increase of some 4,000 since the 2001 census.

1. NZ.Stat, Ethnic group (total responses), for the census usually resident population count, 2001, 2006, and 2013 Censuses, accessed 9 October 2015

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