A special celebration is coming up at Rotorua's Night Market, with everyone invited to go along to celebrate and learn more about the Chinese culture.

The Rotorua Chinese Community Association, alongside Multicultural Rotorua and Rotorua Lakes Council, looks forward to sharing a fun evening of Chinese food, culture, dance, crafts and more.

The festival will take place alongside the regular Rotorua Night Market and celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar.

Rotorua Lakes Council market manager Brigitte Nelson says there is a fantastic line up of events and entertainment to celebrate the Year of the Rat.

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She says there will be delicious Chinese food for sale, fantastic entertainment, including dragon dancing, as well as craft stalls and activities.

People can also hear their future for 2020 from a fortune cookie and learn how to make a perfect dumpling.

Brigitte says they are bringing back the hugely popular Dumpling Eating Competition which people loved last year. Go to the Night Market Facebook page for more information.

"Rotorua is such a multi-cultural city and it is wonderful to learn more about the different cultures living here. It will be a fantastic evening alongside our Night Market."

Dragon dancing at last year's Rotorua Chinese New Year Festival. Photo / Supplied
Dragon dancing at last year's Rotorua Chinese New Year Festival. Photo / Supplied

Rotorua Chinese Community Association secretary Ryan Zhang says in the old days, the Chinese New Year was related to agricultural activities.

"Our ancestors celebrate the New Year's Day on Lunar Calendar and wish a better year to come.

"In China, there are many customs and traditions in different regions. It's often regarded as an occasion that families get together and share their memories in the past year."

Influenced by the Chinese tradition, many Asian countries celebrate Lunar New Year, he says.

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"For example, Korea and Vietnam. Today, many Chinese communities get together and celebrate the day around the world.

"We are asking everyone to join and have fun. Not only Chinese, but every community.

"We would love to see more friendly faces at our festival. Please come and enjoy our traditional performance, such as dragon and lion dancing, Sichuan opera, singing, stand up comedy, Dumpling Eating Competition and so much more."

Multicultural Rotorua president Margriet Theron says there is a growing number of Chinese residents in Rotorua, and the Multicultural Council supports the various cultural celebrations of all its members.

"It's a wonderful collaboration between Rotorua Lakes Council's organisers of the Night Market and the Rotorua Chinese Community Association.

She says the Rotorua Chinese Community Association is growing in membership and is co-ordinating the Chinese community to show the contributions they are making to our city, and to give them the opportunity to celebrate their traditional event.

"It's always visually so beautiful. We saw them participate in the Rotorua Christmas Parade and if it's going to be anything like it will be well worth seeing."

The details
- What: Rotorua Chinese New Year Festival 2020
- When: Thursday, January 23, 2020, from 5pm to 9pm, during the Night Market
- Where: Te Manawa (corner of Hinemoa and Tutanekai Sts)
- Admission: Free