Chinese New Year Celebrations Auckland

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Read about 'Chinese New Year Celebrations Auckland' on USAVE, the place for all things car rental.

People all across the world begin celebrations for the 2019 Chinese New Year (CNY) during late January early February every year. The Chinese New Year festivities in New Zealand set in motion the beginning of a series of events, activities, entertainment and fun for the whole family as well as holding cultural and historical significance.

How Long Are The Chinese New Year Celebrations?

Traditionally the CNY festivities span a total of 15 days, not including the official New Year’s Eve starting point (the actual date changes each year based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar). Although in New Zealand activities and events can stretch out towards the end of February and begin late January.

In 2019, the Chinese New Year occurs on February 5th, see here for a full list of dates for the Chinese New Year.

Dragon Dance Chinatown

Chinese Lunar New Year

The ancient Chinese lunar calendar, which is what the Chinese New Year calculations are based on functioned as a religious and social guide. The calendar has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years with records showing it existed back when the Shang Dynasty was in power in the 14th century B.C.

The calendar was complex and varied dependent upon lunar phases, solar equinoxes and solstices, spiritual influences and even according to which emperor was in charge. For us in the modern day, the Chinese New Year begins with the new moon towards the end of January/early February, and lasts around 15 days until the full moon arrives.

What Are We Celebrating?

Referred to as the ‘Spring Festival’ in mainland China, the Chinese New Year is an important holiday for the Chinese. It is a time of happiness and lively celebrations, fireworks are always prominent as are dancing and singing.

Traditionally the holiday was to honour the ancestors and the gods associated with Chinese culture and history. This was a time for warding off evil spirits and ensuring protection and prosperity for the coming year.

These days while still honouring the underlying traditions, the holiday has become more of a time for relaxation, spending time with loved ones and a well-earned break form the stresses of work.

Chinese New Year Lamps

Brief History

Legend has it the CNY rituals began when a mysterious old man decided to stand up to the ‘Nian’, a mythical beast who would ravage the village and eat small children. The old man set off firecrackers and hung red coloured objects all around the village effectively warding off the evil beast while the villagers hid.

The villagers, having found their village to be saved from destruction, went about the same rituals every year during the same period to ensure their safety for the coming year. The ‘Nian’ beast never returned.

Chinese Zodiac Animals (Sheng Xiao)

Each Chinese New Year is represented by an animal, for 2019 it is the pig. There are twelve zodiac animals in the rotation; the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

Each animal is said to exhibit certain qualities and attributes that are passed on to the people born in their year.

7 Chinese New Year Traditions Explained

Why is everything the colour red? Whats with the dancing dragons? Find out the answers to these questions and more below with our top 7 Chinese New Year traditions explained.

  1. The Colour Red. Red is a prominent colour of celebration for the CNY you will see it in the clothes people wear, decorations, gifts and even the fireworks themselves. Why the colour red? Red is regarded as a symbol of energy happiness and good luck and it is said to ward off bad spirits.
  2. The Dancing Dragons/Lions. It is common to see dragon and lion dances at CNY celebrations and parades, these represent the brining of good luck and also to drive way evil spirits.
  3. The Cleaning. During the new year period it is common for working life to come to a halt with home and family taking the focus. Preparation for the holiday includes cleaning the house to rid it of “huiqi” to appease the gods.
  4. The Fireworks. Traditional New Year rituals included food sacrifices, paper icons offered to gods and ancestors, fireworks were a big part of the ritual to ward off  evil spirits.
  5. The Rituals. Much of the traditions and practices carried out during this celebratory period were designed to bring good luck to the household and family for the coming year. It is common for people to exchange money given in red envelopes.
  6. The Food. Traditional Chinese New Year food included things like long noodles (to symbolise long life), dumplings shaped like the full moon (as a sign of perfection) and on New Year’s Eve the extended family would enjoy a shared meal where the last course was a fish that symbolises abundance (this was admired and not eaten).
  7. The Name. While most western countries call it the ‘Chinese New Year’ in Chinese countries it is known as the ‘Spring Festival’ and includes a week long holiday which many use as a week of relaxation or take the opportunity to spend time with family.

Chinese New Year Lantern Decorations

6 Of The Best Chinese New Year Events In Auckland

In Auckland we see a variety of activities, events and celebrations to mark this important occasion, here are just some of the best for the 2019 Chinese New Year.

1. 2019 CNY Festival & Market Day – Saturday 2 February 2019

Held at the Auckland Chinese Community Centre from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, the CNY Festival & Market Day is free to all and includes the traditional dragon/lion dancing along with over 200 stalls, activities and performances.

2. Auckland Lantern Festival – Thursday 14 February to Sunday 17 February

Held at the Auckland Domain between the hours of 4 pm and 10.30 pm, the Auckland Lantern Festival is the perfect way to end your CNY celebrations.

3. Chinese New Year Acrobatics – Sunday 3rd February

Held at the Auckland Vodafone Events Centre at 7 – 9 pm, the Happy Chinese New Year Acrobatics is a visual feast set to inspire and astound. Entry costs are around $30 – $50.

4. Whau Chinese New Year Festival – Sunday 10 February

Held at Auckland’s Olympic Park from 12 – 8 pm, the Whau Chinese New Year Festival is free for all and offers up a great family day out. Enjoy yummy delicacies, artwork, entertainment and more.

5. Chinese New Year at SKYCITY – Monday 4 to Monday 25th February    

SKYCITY is the place to be for celebrating the Chinese New Year in a grand way. Choose from a variety of events including the pop-up chinses garden, epic New Year’s Eve celebrations on the 4th February complete with dancing lions, dragons and pandas. Or on Friday the 8th February enjoy the festival style markets on Federal Street.

6. Parnell Year Of The Pig Exhibition And Auction – Saturday 9 to Thursday 28th February

Seek out the joy of discovering the 22 little pig art pieces that are being created by well-known artists and celebrities at local Parnell galleries and select retailers for the two week period. The Year Of The Pig Exhibition culminates in a live auction at Jonathan Grant Galleries on the 28 February.

Enjoy the fun of the Chinese New Year celebrations with a quality rental car from USAVE car rentals – give us a call today!

 

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