Ready to ring in the Year of the Monkey?
This year, the Chinese Lunar New Year falls on Monday, Feb. 8. Traditionally, people born in a year of the monkey are said to be intelligent, but also a little mischievous and naughty. They’re masters of practical jokes and enjoy playing more than working.
Vancouver itself is getting ready for some serious monkey business in celebration of the New Year. Chinatown will see festive expos and parades, while Lunarfest brings the party to the heart of downtown. Here are a few can’t-miss free (or almost free) events this year:
- Year of the Monkey at International Village Mall: Festivities get underway with a four-day celebration of Chinese culture inside the International Village Mall in Chinatown. Parts of the mall will be transformed into a traditionally decorated Chinese village, and visitors can also enjoy live cultural performances and authentic New Year foods. Feb. 11-Feb. 14 at International Village Mall
- Lunarfest Vancouver: The Vancouver Art Gallery plaza is the setting for this annual celebration of traditional and contemporary Chinese culture. This year, soak up live performances from the UBC Chinese Music Club and see the “world’s smallest lion dancers.” Learn how to make fortune cookies, paper fans and monkey souvenirs at DIY craft booths, and enjoy special monkey-themed exhibitions from local and international artists. Feb. 12-Feb. 14 at the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza
- Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival: The heart of Chinatown at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Plaza is the setting for this traditional cultural fair. Enjoy martial arts demonstrations, multicultural music shows, theatrical performances and more. Feb. 13-Feb. 14 at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Plaza
- Year of the Monkey Temple Fair: Just next door is the world-famous Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a replica 15th-century garden named by National Geographic as one of the world’s top city gardens. In honour of the Chinese New Year, they’re holding a traditional temple fair, complete with multicultural music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, and traditional Chinese New Year games and activities for the whole family. Feb. 14 at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (suggested donation $5)
- Chinese New Year Parade: An estimated 100,000 spectators and 3,000 performers turn out every year for this giant parade, which features the largest assembly of lion dance teams in Canada, plus martial arts troupes, marching bands and drill teams. The 1.3-kilometre route starts at the Millennium Gate on Pender Street and winds its way through Chinatown for 2.5 hours. Feb. 14 at 11 a.m in Chinatown