Where to ring in the Lunar New Year in Vancouver

12 Girls Band performs at the Orpheum Feb. 19.

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is the most important traditional holiday in China. Also known as the Lunar New Year, it begins Feb. 16, 2018, and marks the beginning of the Year of the Dog. Here are a few ways to celebrate in Vancouver.

The Chinese New Year Parade (Feb. 18, 11 a.m.)—The annual parade features the largest assembly of traditional dance teams in Canada with dozens of colourful and energetic lions from various local fraternal and martial arts organizations. Over 3,000 participants from various community and cultural groups collaborate on the parade, which draws over 100,000 spectators each year. The 1.3-km long route starts at the Millennium Gate on Pender Street (between Shanghai Alley and Taylor Street), proceeds east along Pender Street, turns south onto Gore Street, turns west onto Keefer Street and then disperses on Keefer at Abbott. It’s presented by the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver.

Chinese New Year at International Village (Feb. 16-18, 88 West Pender St.)—The Chinatown mall (and home to Vancouver’s first cat café) offers Chinese New Year merchandise, music and entertainment, including multicultural live stage performances. Exhibition and sales booths on the main and upper levels will showcase festive items, souvenirs, and gift wares. The three-day event includes an opening celebration with a ceremonial opening and lion dance, attended by officials from three levels government, consulates, and local celebrities.

Poly Culture and the VSO Present: The 12 Girls Band (Feb. 19,  Orpheum Theatre, 601 Smithe St.)—The 12 Girls Band performs with the VSO in a celebration of the Lunar New Year. The 12 Girls Band is an all-female Chinese musical group that combines elements from Chinese traditional folk music with modern sound, lighting and designs. An internationally-renowned phenomenon, The 12 Girls Band has performed around the world. They are the first Chinese music group to be nominated for a Grammy Award. For tickets, visit vancouversymphony.ca.

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