Celebrate the Year of the Snake

Formerly published in The Other Press. Feb. 5 2013

Chinese New Year festivities around Metro Vancouver
By Elliot Chan, Staff Writer

On February 10, the lunar calendar will flip from the year of the dragon to the snake. So forget the doldrums of January and ring in the Chinese New Year before heading off for the study break. Firecrackers, lion dances, and a whole lot of food are available all across town. Here are some of the cultural events happening:

The Aberdeen Centre in Richmond is hosting the Flower and Gift Fair on February 6-11. Since 1989, the fair has been the main stop for all things Chinese New Year. Decorations, flowers, and food stands can all be found throughout the mall.

On February 9, stay until midnight for the Chinese New Year countdown inside of the main atrium. Musicians, dancers, and other entertainers will be performing on the large stage for the duration of the night.

The next morning on February 10, out in the Aberdeen Centre courtyard the Golden Dragon and Lion Dance will present an extravagant performance starting at 11 a.m.

If you want to settle down and enjoy live performances, the Aberdeen Chinese New Year Cultural Spectacle on February 10 and 11 will host two separate shows. On the 10th, the BC Chinese Music Association and Vancouver Academy of Dance take the stage at 1:15 p.m.–4 p.m. On the 11th,the Colours of Dance Academy and Vancouver Cantonese Opera will be performing from 12:30 p.m.–4 p.m.

Popular downtown nightclub, Pop Opera presents the Year of the Snake Celebration on February 9th. Ring in the New Year with a night of dance and drinks. The first 50 people to arrive will receive red envelopes with money.

Come by the Crystal Mall in Burnaby on February 10 at noon to meet the God of Fortune and get a free calligraphy greeting. Then stay for the lion dances and the lucky draw.

The International Village Celebration takes place from February 15-17, containing multiple exhibits and hourly performances and draws. Admission is free.

The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden Snake Temple Fair in Vancouver on February 17 combines the festive with the spiritual. With a suggested entry donation of $5 you can enjoy food and musical performances, as well as visit exhibitions and learn more about the Chinese tradition. 

And finally, the Chinatown Parade on February 17 is the most renowned event in town. The 1.5 km parade from Pender to Keefer Street gathers a large crowd every year. Martial artistes, dragon and lion dancers, and marching bands will be making their way across historical Chinatown from 12 p.m.–2 p.m. Arrive early to get a good spot and then head over to the Sun Yet-Sen Plaza for the Festival and Cultural Fair from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Happy Year of the Snake!

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