Asia NZ Ushers In The Year Of The Dog
Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin for have a prosperous year) or Kung Hei Fat Choy (Cantonese)! Welcome to the Year of the Dog. In this issue, we preview the forthcoming Asia:NZ Lantern Festivals in Auckland and Christchurch. For those of you confused by the Chinese Lunar Calendar used to determine Chinese New Year, bear this in mind; the Korean calendar is identical, the Vietnamese calendar substitutes the cat for the rabbit in the Chinese zodiac while the Japanese calendar uses a different method of calculation, resulting in some discrepancies with other Asian calendars.
In this issue:
Who let the dog out?
Lanterns for the Lunar New Year
A growing cultural phenomenon
Covering Asia: An online guide for journalists
Asian studies in schools found wanting
Herald gets ‘race and demography’ round
Asian media update
Tribute to Tan Sri Dr Noordin Sopiee
Backpackers and taxi drivers
Big year for Holborow scholars
Lenses focus on Auckland festival
The weird world of White Fungus
Who let the dog out?
Last year’s rooster is this year’s feather duster as the new moon on January 29 ushered in the Chinese Year of the Fire Dog.
Valued for its fidelity, the dog, according to Chinese belief, represents future prosperity and is believed to bring luck.
Accordingly, as reported in the Malaysia Star newspaper, dog-themed decorative items are the latest must-have items across East Asia.
One of the most popular objects is the Zhao Cai Gou (beckoning wealth dog) puppy which holds a banner with the four auspicious Chinese characters Zhao Cai Jin Bao (ushering in wealth and prosperity).
The puppy figurines replace the usual Zhao Cai Mao (beckoning wealth cat) that many businessmen love to place in their shops to create positive feng shui.
NZ Post has even launched stamps to commemorate the Year of the Dog.
In another hopeful sign, the New Year is a ‘double spring’ year with the first mark of spring being celebrated during the two week Lunar New Year festive period.
The Year of the Dog ends on February 18 next year which is after the official February 5 date that heralds the official start of spring in China. Hence the Dog Year is a lucky or ‘double spring’ year.
But a year without a spring, as was last year, is known as a ‘blind year’, something which many Chinese believe is unlucky for marriage.
In China, the number of weddings slumped last year as couples avoided the ‘unlucky’ Rooster year.
Now media reports are predicting a big year for wedding banquets, honeymooning and jewellery buying as couples renew plans to tie the knot in a more favourable year.
In Singapore, geomancers say things are already heating up with more couples coming to them for auspicious wedding dates.
The twelve animals of the Chinese horoscope are the Rat, Bull, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Pig and the Dog. Further nuance is added by the five elements of gold, wood, water, fire and earth.
Lanterns for the Lunar New
For only the second year running, lantern festivals organised by Asia:NZ to mark Chinese New Year will be held in both the North and South Island.
While the Asia:NZ Lantern Festival in Auckland’s Albert Park is now an established tradition since it began seven years ago, the two-day celebration in Christchurch is only in its second year.
Up to 140,000 attend the Auckland event each year while last year, the festival in Christchurch at Victoria Square drew between 35-40,000 people.
The festivals will be held in Auckland from February 10-12 and in Christchurch on February 25-26.
Both events will feature hundreds of brightly coloured lanterns specially commissioned and imported from China and Singapore, music, performances, and delicious food and craft stalls.
The occasion is part of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations and is a chance for the Chinese community to share this tradition with families in Auckland and Christchurch.
Non-stop entertainment will include the visiting Jalan Besar Dragon and Lion Dance Group from Singapore and four craftspeople from Shanghai. There will also be martial arts demonstrations, karaoke and market food and craft stalls.
The Lantern Festivals are organised by the Asia New Zealand Foundation in partnership with Auckland City and with the support of the Christchurch City Council. The Auckland lantern festival has been recently recognised as one of Auckland’s six signature events.
For more information, please visit Asia New Zealand…