For the past two weeks, Chinese around the world have been celebrating the Chinese New Year and welcoming the Year of the Horse by eating speciality foods, setting off fireworks, cleaning their houses, and passing out lucky red envelopes filled with cash. Though the global festivities will end Feb. 14 with a host of traditional lantern festivals, they will go out with a particularly unique bang in Auckland, New Zealand.
Auckland’s Lantern Festival, now in its 15th year, will display over 800 hand-crafted lanterns over the course of four days to celebrate the first full moon following the start of the Chinese New Year. (On a whole, lantern festivals have been part of Chinese New Year celebrations since the Han Dynasty.) While the festival originally relied on second-hand lanterns from the Jurong Gardens in Singapore, it now boasts of hundreds of its own creations and has expanded its repertoire to include stage performances, martial arts demonstrations, flash mob dragon dancers and food stalls. All events take place in Albert Park and Queens Wharf in Central Auckland.
Those traveling or sailing through Australia and New Zealand should take advantage of the abundant Chinese New Year festivities wrapping up in the region before the celebratory window closes.
(Photo: Auckland Lantern Festival)