Chinese New Year in Vancouver: Free family events

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Happy Chinese New Year, Kits residents. We’re heading out of the rabbit hole and into the dragon’s den. As you probably know thanks to Vancouver’s strong Chinese-Canadian population, Chinese New Year which falls on January 23 this year, is the oldest and most important holiday on the Chinese calendar, and the festivities traditionally carry on for 15 days. In other words: the fun is just beginning.

Chinese New Year events in Vancouver

Vancouver has got a lot of lively Chinese New Year events coming up where you’ll get a chance to participate and hopefully see a lion dance or two (which I happen to be addicted to). I’ve listed a few fun family events in Chinatown. If you know of Kits-specific events, we’d like to hear from you.

1) Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade 2012, January 29, Free
The annual Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade (a barrage of thrilling eye candy) showcases the largest assembly of traditional lion dance teams in Canada, the VPD Motorcycle Drill Team, marching bands and more—attracting 50,000 spectators each year.

2) Year of the Dragon Celebration at Chinatown’s International Village, January 27-29, Free
Head out to the celebrations at Chinatown’s International Village where over 150,000+ visitors come and go during the three-day culture fest that includes, live shows, food, shopping and tons of kids activities.

3) Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival &  Cultural Fair, January 28-29, Free
Head out to the Spring Festival & Cultural Fair at Sun Yat-sen Plaza. The historically one day event was so popular, organizers expanded the program in 2012 to cover the entire weekend. In addition to the usual performances, expect thrilling martial arts, and a lion dance off grand finale.

About the 15 days of Chinese New Year

The first day of Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) is dedicated to welcoming the deities of the heavens and earth. You banish evil spirits with a visit from a lively, colourful dragon  accompanied by loud firecrackers. Family members who are married also bestow red envelopes of money to junior family members to symbolize wealth and good fortune.

The second day of Chinese New Year is when married daughters visit their birth parents, relatives and close friends. Some cultures also believe it’s the birthday of all dogs and remember their pets with special treats. The third day is for rest and staying home so as not to incite the God of Blazing Wrath. The last day of Chinese New Year is celebrated as a Lantern Festival when families walk the streets carrying lighted lanterns.
Have suggestions for Chinese New Year events in Kitsilano or around town? Share by commenting.

Last modified: January 24, 2012

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