To ensure her family continues to be lucky in the coming Year of the Sheep, New Lynn mother Maria Lee keeps true to traditions and age-old Chinese New Year practices.
From Malaysia, Mrs Lee, 59, moved to New Zealand to be with her three children and ensures they keep Lunar New Year customs alive.
Spring cleaning before Chinese New Year, reunion dinner on the eve and not sweeping the floor on New Year's day are some of the practices Mrs Lee follows.
The family will be gathering at the home of her eldest son, Yee Yang, 32, an Auckland Council ethnic panel member, who has been given the task of preparing dinner tonight.
"The reunion is very important because it signifies unity, and eating together on this night will mean our relationship will remain strong the whole year," said Mrs Lee.
"There are also certain food that we must eat, like fish, because of its symbolism."
The word for fish in Chinese sounds like "surplus" and it is believed that eating fish will bring a surplus and abundance of good fortune.
Other common Chinese New Year foods include dumplings, pineapple tarts, spring rolls and niangao - a glutinous rice cake.
Sweeping the floor on New Year's Day means sweeping away good luck and for this same reason, the Chinese also believe it is not good to wash hair.
It is also considered bad luck to wear black, to use sharp objects such as knives or scissors, or to swear.
Mrs Lee said the customs and superstitions were an integral part of Chinese New Year festivities, which are observed for 15 days.
"It is part of our Chinese heritage and even though we no longer live in Asia, I want to ensure that these traditions are passed on to my children and the generations to come," she said.
Tonight, Chinese and Koreans in New Zealand will join more than a billion people around the world to usher in the Year of the Sheep.
Firecrackers will be lit at SkyCity, and drums and bells will sound at Fo Guang Shan temple in Manukau at midnight.
The sheep is the eighth animal in the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle, and is often associated with calmness, gentleness, peace and harmony.
People born under the sign are thought to be patient, kind and obedient - but these are virtues many parents think are no good for success.
Many believe people who are born in the year of the sheep are destined to be followers and not leaders.
In Asia, where the influence of zodiac animal signs remain strong, there was reportedly a rush for Chinese parents to give birth before the arrival of the sheep.
New Zealand-born Chinese community leader Kai Luey said Chinese New Year was now a "mainstream celebration" in Auckland where one in four people are Asian.
"In the old days, you wouldn't even know it's New Year if you didn't have a lunar calender to look at," he said.
"Now the signs and posters are everywhere and you've got market days and a lantern festival, so it has become pretty mainstream."
According to 2013 Census figures, the Chinese ethnic group comprised 171,411 people or 4.3 per cent of New Zealand's population.
Nearly seven in 10 lived in the Auckland region, and about three in four were migrants born overseas.
Thousands of others, including 30,171 Koreans, 5715 Taiwanese and those who identified as Hongkongers, Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese also celebrate the festival.
On New Year's Day tomorrow, Caishen Ye - the Chinese God of Fortune - will "descend from the heavens" via a 192m Sky Jump from the top of the Sky Tower.
"This is to signify blessings of good fortune, wealth and luck from the heavens to Auckland city," said event organiser Paul Young.
Firecrackers will then be set off and a lion dance performed to drive away evil and bad luck.
Despite hopes for the sheep to bring calm and peace, two geomancy and feng shui experts are predicting a hostile and turbulent year.
Feng Shui Consultants New Zealand director Danny Thorn said people should expect the "volatile aggression of 2014" - the Year of the Wood Horse - to continue.
Those born under the sheep sign could face health concerns and those born in the ox year could have a year of more turbulence and frustration.
But rat people could find it will be a good time to enjoy romance, he said.
Geomancer Honey Lim, who is working in Malaysia, said the sheep year would be "quarrelsome and hostile".
Lion dance plays vital role
Lion dancing is an art that has been practised for more than 2000 years and has become an integral part of Chinese New Year celebrations.
But far from being a free-form festive dance, the steps follow a martial arts kung fu principle that has its origins in the China anti-Qing revolution.
Started in 1995, the NZ Hup Jong Mune wushu culture association is one of the troupes that follow this ancient lion dance tradition.
The association will be performing tonight at the SkyCity atrium at 7pm and every night from Thursdays to Sundays over the next three weeks.
"Lion dancing is actually martial arts in disguise, and started at a time when kung fu was banned by the Chinese imperial masters," said Master Jacky Luk, founder of the association.
The century-long anti-Qing movement resulted in a 1911 Xinhai Revolution which overthrew the Qing Dynasty and replaced it with the Republic of China in 1912.
Since then, the lion dance has been used in major Chinese celebrations - from the opening of new businesses, weddings and especially during Chinese New Year.
"It is believed that the lion dance brings good luck, wealth and prosperity and no Chinese celebration is complete without it," Mr Luk said.
Different coloured lions personify a General from the Three Kingdoms, each of different significance.
For the SkyCity performances, two lions will be used; the red lion, symbolising General Guan Cong, known for being righteous and trustworthy, and the orange lion, representing General Liu Bei, who is known for benevolence. Lion dances will also be performed at this weekend's Chinese and Korean New Year Festival at the Northcote Town Centre, and at the Auckland Lantern Festival (February 26 to March 1).
Predictions for the Year of the Sheep
The Year of the Wood Sheep is a very quarrelsome and hostile year. Plenty of discord and disharmony at micro and macro levels.
At a macro political level, military force is favoured over diplomacy. Riots, rebellion, and the use of violence and adversarial means are predicted.
Domestically, expect plenty of disagreements within the country. Family relations break down and get heated. The primary cause of disharmony is caused by afflicted wood energy brought by the annual flying star 3, which is also known as the "star of war".
This wood element star fuels disagreements, hostility, court cases, legal entanglements and arguments. It must be subdued using fire energy.
Our advice for this year is to place plenty of red colours in the home - especially in the centre of the house and centre of living rooms. Red cushion covers, red carpets and red paintings as the dominant theme of the house will help to suppress disharmony.
From an economic and international relations viewpoint, the first two seasons are volatile and unpredictable. Man-made disasters are predicted. The outlook improves dramatically for the last two seasons of the Wood Sheep Year.
Investors should wait till the third quarter before entering the markets.
Prosperity luck comes from the north direction this year. The north is very lucky and this can be activated by placing water features in the north. This particularly favours those born in the Year of the Rat.
Wealth luck is brought by the element of wood. Placing plants and water in the home enhances wealth accumulation and assets.
Victory luck comes from the east. Eastern countries and eastern regions enjoy success this year. Activate victory luck with lotus plants and water in the east. The greatest beneficiary of this auspicious luck is the Rabbit.
Serious misfortune comes from the west. Those who live in western regions should carry amulets of protection and wear gold.