07 February 2024

As our communities become more multicultural, I love all the new (to some of us) foods, traditions and celebrations that are becoming part of our Kiwi experience.  One that most of us know is Lunar New Year, this year starting on 10 February.  Lunar New Year falls at a slightly different time within January and February because, like our very own Matariki, it follows a lunar rather than traditional Gregorian calendar.  Celebrations begin the night before the new year (like our December-January New Year celebrations), and last until the 15th day of the new year, ending with the Lantern Festival – another favourite of mine!

Rather than being associated with constellations and planets, the Chinese horoscope is set by your birth year.  Like western horoscopes, there are further layers, the most well-known being an association with natural elements metal, water, wood, fire, or earth.  This Lunar New year begins the Year of the Wood Dragon.  The Dragon is one of the most popular animals in the zodiac; those born in the Year of the Dragon are thought to be courageous, tenacious, intelligent, and confident.  So, this Year of the Dragon promises opportunity, change and challenge.  The luckiest zodiac signs for the year are predicted to be Monkeys, Roosters, and Pigs, followed by Tigers, Rabbits, Snakes, and Dogs.

Lunar New Year is traditionally celebrated with food and gatherings like so many of our special occasions.  Red envelopes full of crisp new money are also given to family and close friends – traditionally by married people.  Red is the colour of the ‘season’ and if you’re looking to celebrate, there’s lots to choose from Northlands.  Just avoid knives or sharp objects, clocks/watches and black and white – traditional funeral colours.  Here are a few of my favourite finds:

Dragon Lego Set The Warehouse, Candle Farmers, Bracelet and Charm Pandora, Bag Farmers, Bath Bomb Lush.

Excited to celebrate Lunar New Year and want to learn more? The Papanui Library will be celebrating the Year of the Dragon with special bilingual Lunar New Year  Wā Kōrero: Storytimes on Thursday February 22.  Meet others in the community for a fun variety of stories, songs and rhymes. Perfect for 2-5 years.

Or, invite the family over for some new tastes and have some fun finding out your zodiac and what might be in store for you!