Auckland Lantern Festival makes online debut after cancellation of physical event

Lincoln Tan

31 Jan 2022

Auckland Lantern Festival is being celebrated online this year after the physical version was cancelled due to New Zealand's move to the red traffic light setting.

The online programme, to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Tiger, is being launched today, which also happens to be Chinese New Year.

The festival makes its online debut at www.aucklandnz.com/lantern, and will feature a line-up of Lantern Festival music, dance, craft, and culture.

The festival at the Auckland Showgrounds was expected to be attended by up to 100,000 Aucklanders from 10-13 February before organisers decided on its cancellation.

The online programme will go live today, which organisers say was created "so that everyone can experience the sights, sounds and festival vibe of the much-loved event from wherever they are".

Lantern festival music playlists, favourite Chinese recipes, craft guides, games including mahjong, videos, and a photo gallery of some of the 800 lanterns especially created for this year's event will be on the online site.

There will also be links to exhibitions in Auckland celebrating the Chinese New Year, Chinese films, and a guide to the best restaurants in the city to experience a Chinese New Year feast.

Auckland Lantern Festival event producer, Eric Ngan, says the online programme was always intended to be part of this year's festival offering, but was now the focus of the event team's Chinese New Year programme.

"We've created a destination where festival fans can experience a taste of the atmosphere and vibrancy of the on-site event, and celebrate Chinese culture and our Auckland Chinese communities," Ngan said.

The online content will be updated daily throughout the festival period and will remain live even after the traditional New Year festivities end.

Chinese New Year, or the Year of the Water Tiger according to the Chinese zodiac, starts today and is observed for 15 days.

"Xin nian kwai le" is how people say happy new year in Mandarin, but many will also add "hu hu sheng wei" which means the may the tiger bring you influence and vitality.