Happy Lunar New Year to those of you celebrating this auspicious occasion!

Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the lunar calendar and typically falls between mid-January and late February. This year, the year of the wood dragon, starts on 10 February.

The festival is traditionally a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Traditional customs are deeply rooted in cultural heritage, which has been passed down through generations.  Families come together to honour their ancestors, share meals and exchange well wishes. Red decorations, symbolising prosperity and good luck, decorate homes and streets. And it is also a tradition for every family to thoroughly clean their house to sweep away any ill fortune and to make way for incoming good luck.

Other activities include lighting fireworks and sky lanterns, which pose a significant fire risk. Sky lanterns are at the mercy of the wind direction once lit, so if there is a wind change, a lantern may cause a building fire or wildfire.

With many parts of Aotearoa New Zealand in prohibited or restricted fire seasons, we encourage you to share advice with your communities about setting off fireworks or lighting lanterns, this Lunar New Year.

  • Encourage people to check the fire season before lighting a sky lantern, and never light these during prohibited or restricted seasons.
  • Avoid lighting sky lanterns when it’s dry.
  • If people are lighting sky lanterns, encourage them to tether these so they don’t blow into dry vegetation.
  • Don’t light or release sky lanterns if it is windy.

Check out our advice on lighting sky lanterns(external link)(external link)

We wish everyone celebrating Lunar New Year a prosperous year ahead.


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