Chinese New Year 2012: Five fab regional events

Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) is approaching faster than the beat of a lion dance.  I should know; I just lost half an hour watching the Lion Dance Championships on YouTube.

The first day of the Year of the Dragon is January 23 and the festivities keep rolling for another 15 days. Dana covered Vancouver’s packed Chinese New Year event schedule, including the parade in Chinatown January 29.  Thanks to the region’s robust Chinese-Canadian population, there’s a lot of celebratory events outside of Vancouver too.

Here’s a round up of Chinese New Year events in the communities surrounding Vancouver. Bonus: The events below are all inside, so you can stay warm and dry.

West Vancouver

1) Park Royal South,  Saturday, Jan 21: 2-4pm; Sunday, Jan. 22: 12-6pm
Head out to Park Royal January 21 for a glimpse of the traditional lion dance, cosmological tai chi, and Chinese music. DJ Owen Tang of Fairchild Radio will be on hand to show you how to prep traditional Chinese New Year dishes with culinary pro Bernice Taam.

Meanwhile Osaka Supermarket is contributing to the festival on January 21 and January 22 with traditional craft demonstrations like rainbow calligraphy, Chinese knotting and dough doll workshops. There’s also a photo opp with the Chinese god of wealth, which just may bring you prosperity all year. Finally, and to many most importantly, don’t miss the chance to sample some traditional Chinese foods.

Burnaby

2) Metropolis at Metrotown, Wednesday, Jan. 25 10am-4pm

The Chinese New Year Parade for Metropolis at Metrotown starts in Grand Court at 10am where the lion will awake and begin the dancing throughout the shopping centre to “bless” participating stores/merchants. This custom is believed to bestow prosperity and good fortune.

Richmond

3) International Buddhist Temple, Sunday Jan. 22 – Monday, Jan. 23

Among the most comprehensive Chinese New Year celebrations, the International Buddhist Temple will be decked out with auspicious flowers, gifts and all manner of holiday dazzle at a special New Year’s bazaar. On New Year’s Eve, visitors are welcome to attend late night celebrations, including a midnight blessing ceremony covering all sentient beings. The evening ends at 1am.

Return January 23 for a Chinese New Year vegetarian luncheon (January 22) in honour of the new lunar year. Admission is free!

4) Aberdeen Centre, Sunday, Jan. 22, 9pm-12:30am; to Monday, Jan. 23, 1:30pm-3:30pm

Get blessed by the Chinese god of fortune from 9pm onwards. At 10:30pm, Fairchild Television starts their live Chinese New Year’s Eve countdown.

On Monday, you can take part in one of the best dance events outside of downtown Van: a lion dance and golden dragon dance in the centre courtyard, not far from the Chinese New Year flower and gift fair.

5) Landsowne Centre, Sunday, Jan. 22, 12:30pm to 4:30pm

The Richmond Chinese Community Society is throwing a fabulous bash with the traditional lion dance plus extras like Chinese opera, karaoke, a fashion show, martial arts demonstrations and drumming.

Know of an event you’d like included? Help out by commenting below.

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