Friday, January 20, 2012

It's the Year of the Dragon

According to the Chinese calendar, the New Year ticks over on January 23 and celebrations marking the start of the 4709th year last 15 days. Welcome to the Year of the Dragon Auckland.

The local Chinese community are kicking things off a little early this year, making sure there are lots of things to see and do to celebrate:

Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day - Saturday, January 21

With more than 20,000 Aucklanders expected at this one day event, organisers have made sure they will be entertained.

John Key's official opening of the day at 10am will be followed up by an acrobatic, shadow puppet and musical troupe from Gansu, China.

Other highlights include more than 200 specialist stalls selling traditional Chinese delicacies, food and drink, arts and crafts as well as an extensive programme of Chinese dances and musical performances, martial arts and games.

Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day 2012 at ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane on January 21. Entry is free.

Chinese Lantern Festival - starts Friday, February 3

For what has become an Auckland tradition, hundreds of Chinese lanterns are about to transform Albert Park. For three nights, the inner city park will be lit up by imported paper lanterns and pack with food stalls to make picnicking even easier.

Plus there will be non-stop entertainment including a dragon and lion dance group from Shanghai, a Chinese-reggae band from Beijing, an opera and modern dance group from Taizhou and a Hong Kong a cappella group.

Chinese Lantern Festival at Albert Park on February 3-5. Entry is free.

NZSO Chinese New Year Concert - Friday, February 3

Celebrate Chinese New Year and welcome in the Year of the Dragon with young New Zealand pianist John Chen, soprano Jenny Wollerman, and the return of Hong Kong Philharmonic Associate Conductor Perry So as they bring one of China's most beloved compositions, The Yellow River Piano Concerto, to life along with other stunning pieces.

NZSO Chinese New Year Concert at the Auckland Town Hall on February 3. Tickets from The Edge.

Auckland Libraries celebrations

Libraries around Auckland are holding a programme of free activities, displays, stories and presentation to coincide with the lunar New Year. Kids can enjoy a story time for little dragons as well as making their very own scaly creature, while the older ones can try their hand at calligraphy or computer classes in mandarin plus a whole lot more.

Auckland Libraries celebrate Chinese New Year around Auckland from January 18 to February 11. Visit for more information.

Chinese New Year at SkyCity

Auckland's Sky Tower will again be lit in the traditional colours of red and gold for the Chinese New Year period, while inside SkyCity there will be a special menu at the Jade Dragon restaurant. The festivities will start with a bang on January 22 as firecrackers are let off at the base of the Sky Tower.

The next night on Chinese New Year's Day, the celebrations really start with acrobats, a lion dance and more.

Chinese New Year at SkyCity from January 21. Entry is free.

- © Fairfax NZ News Your guide to celebrating Chinese New Year
Last updated 05:00 20/01/2012

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