The Year of the Horse comes galloping on January 31, 2014, and it marks the start of a fifteen day festival and holiday. It is the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar.
The arrival of the Chinese New Year (a.k.a.Spring Festival or Lunar New Year) comes along with traditional cultural elements, customs and celebrations. Vancouver boasts one of North America’s largest clusters of major Chinese New Year celebrations – check out these events over the next few days and weeks!
The parade takes place on Sunday, February 2, 2014 and is a signature event of Vancouver’s Chinatown with lion and dragon dances, cultural dance troupes, marching bands, martial arts performances and much more. More than 3,000 people are expected to perform and march along a 1.3-km parade route lined with 50,000+ people. Cost: FREE!
LunarFest at the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza fulfills the “Lantern Festival” aspect of Chinese New Year festivities. Running from Friday, February 7 to Sunday, February 9, this year’s event features life-sized, hand-crafted lanterns shaped to horses and historical Asian palaces. Cost: FREE!
The Vancouver Dumpling Festival will coincide with LunarFest at the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza from February 7 to 9. A wide range of delectable dumplings (a symbol of wealth and prosperity) will be offered. Dumplings are tiny cooked balls of dough that can include meat, vegetables, or sweets. They may be cooked by boiling, steaming, frying, or baking.
The Chinese New Year festival at Vancouver Chinatown’s International Village shopping centre returns from Thursday, January 30 to Sunday, February 2 to celebrate the Year of the Horse. Check it out after you watch the Chinese New Year Parade on February 2! This lively, indoor festival is a massive, free event featuring firecrackers, exhibition booths and live stage performances. It will kick off with a midnight countdown event on Thursday, January 30. Cost: FREE!
The midnight countdown at Richmond’s Aberdeen Centre on Thursday, January 30 is Metro Vancouver’s largest Chinese New Year countdown celebration. It will feature cultural performances, singing, dancing, fortune telling and a live Chinese televised countdown with Fairchild Television. The event is mainly programmed for Vancouver’s Chinese language community. Cost: FREE!
FlyOver Canada is celebrating Chinese New Year until March 2! Guests will be able to experience “Flight of the Dragon” and “FlyOver Canada back-to-back for the regular FlyOver admission price! First, follow a mythical dragon as you soar over some of China’s most spectacular landscapes and scenery during Flight of the Dragon. Then, stay seated and take off again to experience FlyOver Canada, a thrilling flight ride that takes you from east to west across Canada. Both rides incorporate state of the art special effects including wind, scents and mist.
This year’s Spring Festival will be held on both days over the Vancouver Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade weekend on February 1 and 2. The festival will be located at the Sun Yat-Sen Plaza (50 East Pender Street) on both days and will feature multicultural performances, special lion dances, martial arts demonstrations and more. Cost: FREE!
The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver Chinatown presents a family-friendly festival on Sunday, February 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Featuring traditional Chinese games, dumpling and noodle-making demos, arts and crafts for kids and much more!
Featured Image: Children celebrating Chinese New Year via Shutterstock