Chinese New Year--the Lunar New Year--isn't just a traditional festival for the Chinese; it's also the traditional New Year mark for Korean, Vietnamese and many other East Asian cultures. Which means that, for multicultural Vancouver, Chinese New Year/the Lunar New Year is a huge celebration!
Use this list to find the best, biggest Vancouver Chinese New Year 2013 celebrations for the Year of the Snake.
1. Gung Haggis Fat Choy Chinese New Year Dinner - January 27, 2013
One of the most unusual Vancouver Chinese New Year events is a cultural fusion dinner created in 1998 by Vancouverite Todd Wong, who decided to combine celebrations for the Chinese New Year with the birthday of Scotland’s “national poet” Robbie Burns (January 25). (The name Gung Haggis Fat Choy is a play on words: haggis is a traditional Scottish food, while “Gung Hay Fat Choy” is a traditional Cantonese greeting for Chinese New Year.)
The Gung Haggis Fat Choy Chinese New Year Dinner has become an annual tradition in Vancouver. Admission to the event includes a 10-course banquet of Scottish Canadian and Chinese Canadian fare at Chinatown's Floata Restaurant, multiple live performances, and special guest appearances. The dinner is such a hit that other cities--including Seattle--are adopting the dinner as a Chinese New Year celebration, too.
Every year, Vancouver's Chinese New Year events culminate in a full day of New Year's celebrations in the heart of historic Chinatown, starting with the annual Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade. Organized by the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver since 1979, the parade has grown into a must-see event in Vancouver, attracting over 50,000 spectators and 3,000 performers, including the largest assembly of lion dance teams in Canada.
After the parade, free festivities continue at the Chinatown Spring Festival & Cultural Fair at Sun Yat-sen Plaza (50 East Pender Street) until 5pm, followed by a Chinese New Year Banquet at Floata Restaurant that includes live entertainment.
3. Chinese New Year at the International Village - February 15 - 17, 2013
One of the biggest free Vancouver Chinese New Year events is held at Chinatown's International Village shopping centre (better known locally as Tinseltown), located at 88 West Pender Street. At Chinese New Year, over 150,000 visitors head to the International Village for three days of free festivities, including lots of live performances, traditional dance, and kids' activities.
4. Vancouver LunarFest 2012 - February 15 - 17, 2013
Since its creation in 2009 as an arts and culture event for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Vancouver LunarFest has become a non-traditional favourite among Vancouver Chinese New Year events. Dedicated to showcasing contemporary expression in Asian arts and culture, LunarFest honours the Lunar New Year with exhibits, performances, and free kids activities that present multicultural Lunar New Year traditions.