Lions welcome Year of the Horse

ANNA LOREN
Last updated 05:00 31/01/2014
New Year Chinese
LANTERN LAUGHS: Papatoetoe town centre manager Donna Lee, centre, and business owners Jess and Albert Lim are painting the town red for Chinese New Year.

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Lions will be roaming the streets of Papatoetoe this weekend.

Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year and the Hunters Corner and Old Papatoetoe town centres are celebrating for the first time.

Stores have been decorated, red lanterns have been hung from lamp posts and 6000 free fortune cookies are on offer.

Business owners Albert and Jess Lim have been hard at work organising the festivities and say it's a chance to bring the whole community together.

"We want to wish everyone a prosperous and healthy year," Mr Lim says.

Chinese New Year is usually celebrated with a meal of fish and pork which symbolises happiness, Mrs Lim says.

Some families also exchange gifts of money in red paper envelopes.

"Red is a very, very powerful colour," she says.

"It's supposed to be able to drive the evil spirits away."

This lunar year is the Year of the Horse and will run until February 18, 2015.

Babies who are born in the Year of the Horse are traditionally assumed to be strong, energetic and outgoing.

Horse years are also expected to bring good health and fortune to those who work hard, Mr Lim says.

Hunters Corner and Old Papatoetoe town centre manager Donna Lee says she's expecting a great turnout at the Chinese New Year celebrations.

It's all part of an ongoing effort to build up Papatoetoe's events calendar, she says.

"We'd like to be the events capital of South Auckland."

Traditional lion dances to celebrate Chinese New Year will be held tomorrow at 12.45pm on Great South Rd, Hunters Corner and next Saturday at 11.30am on St George St, Old Papatoetoe.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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