It’s the year of the Rooster, but I’m a Rat

I was aCoverbout 20 when I encountered Chinese New Year for the first time. We were holidaying in Hong Kong, which was British in those days and went across the border to The People’s Republic of China.

It was amazing. Bicycles were loaded up with decorations. Everyone was getting readily for New Year. I wished that I was going to be in China for a while longer. I would have loved to have seen it.

During New Year, red is everywhere. It is the colour of luck and happiness. Children receive money wrapped in red paper. Adult exchange poems written on red paper. The Chinese New Year is also an opportunity to remember ancestors, and to wish peace and happiness to friends and family. The lunar new year begins on Saturday 28 January. 2017 is the year of the Red Fire Rooster.

Are you a Rat, a Rooster or one of the other animals? Find out!

The holiday ends with the Festival of Lanterns. In Christchurch, The Lantern Festival will be held on 17-19 February. The best time to see the lanterns is after dark, but if you can’t get there at night, a day time visit is worth while. At night, the lanterns are bright colours in a dark park. During the day, the lanterns are not lit, but are colourful reds and yellows in a green park.

CoverIf you are interested in learning Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese, We have a collection of books and language courses to suit all levels. We also have Mango Languages. This is an online learning system that will help you learn many languages. It also has lessons for learning English for speakers of Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Japanese speakers. Use at a library or enter your library card & password / PIN.

CINCH is our Community Information Christchurch database. It has a list of a range of religious, arts and cultural organizations that meet the needs of the Chinese community.

For more information about the Lunar New year:

Lantern Festival

dragonIn the weekend, we took the kids along to the Lantern Festival in Hagley Park. This was a first for me, even though the festival has been going for several years now.

I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting…something a bit more than a few lanterns strung between the trees I guess, but not the beautiful, elaborate lanterns in the shape of animals, dragons and Ming vases. They were (in the words of the Young Lad) “very awesome!” even in the early evening light.

The lion and dragon dancers were wonderful, it was great to see them dancing through the crowd. The kids especially enjoyed the fireworks and their helium balloons. Although my family of gastronomic neophobes didn’t try the Asian cuisine, if the queues were anything to go by the food was great too. I’d say it was definitely worth the fight for a carpark!

Summertimes – and the entertainment is easy to find

Inaugural New Zealand Sandcastle CompetitionEvery year early in the summer, I pore through the Summertimes catalogue excitedly, even exclaiming out loud to anyone within earshot about all the exciting things that are coming up to see and do over the warmer days.

Every year I only seem to see a fraction of what I want and in particular there is one event I just miss every year! The Chinese Lantern Festival is something that I have tried to go to for years and years, ever since they started having one. I imagine that it will remind me of the time I spent living in Hong Kong, not only the lanterns, but the food. For too many years, even if I put in on my calendar, I forget until the week after, and last year, earthquakes conspired to prevent it even happening. I also forget the Kite Day, most of The Breeze Lazy Sunday Concertsand I must have not only been under a rock but a large pile of sand to have missed the Sandcastles this year!

This week’s goal is to get to at least some of the Busker’s Festival. I’m keen to go inside the Le Tigre Bleu tent and see what lurks.

Shakespeare’s As You Like It at Mona Vale is a must see for me, as is The Anthony Harper Summer Series of The Complete History of Christchurch – Abridged by The Outwits. This is the last Abridged show this talented group is performing. This is one event I have been to regularly most years. We take the folding chairs, food and a little bubbly and we laugh ourselves silly.

So I challenge you all, do a better job of living in this wonderful city than I seem to, and avail yourselves of all the amazing Summertimes and other entertainment on offer until well into March.