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Chinese New Year and Celebration in Vancouver

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

If you aren't familiar with the ways of the Chinese community, you might be wondering how we celebrate Chinese New Year. Well, don't worry, because we're here to give you a crash course!

The New Year typically falls between January 21 and February 20, and is based on the lunar calendar. This year, it fell on January 22nd. Traditionally, the New Year is a time for families to come together and celebrate. During this time, there are many customs and traditions that are observed.

Origin of the Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, is the most important celebration of all the traditional Chinese festivals. The origin of the Chinese New Year Festival can go back to around 3,500 years ago. Over time its costumes and traditions evolved and developed to what we know today.

Chinese New Year is said to have originated during Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC), when people held sacrificial ceremonies in honour of gods and ancestors at the beginning or the end of each year. During the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC), the calendar year was established and ancestor worship had become a social practice.

By the Han Dynasty (202 BC - 2020 AD), the Chinese New Year was changed and the celebration activities became popular. It was during the Wei-Qing Dynasty (220-1911) that the Chinese New Year became more entertaining and social rather than religious.

And then there is the Chinese zodiac! The Chinese zodiac is represented by 12 zodiac animals, starting with the Rat, then the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and finally, the Pig. According to the stories shared around why they are in this order, it is said that the Jade Emperor invited all the animals of the world to a swimming race and the first 12 who made it across a fast flowing river would get a year of the zodiac named after them as a prize.

The stories are very entertaining and explain things like why cats and rats don’t get along, which animals were kind to help others, and why the pig came last. Basically, the pig was last because it got hungry, ate, and felt so tired that it had to sleep.

2023 is a year of the Rabbit, starting from January 22nd, 2023, and ending on February 9th, 2024. So if you were born in the years of 1987, 1999 or 2011, this is your year!

It is important to say that the Chinese New Year is a significant festival in the Chinese calendar, marking the start of a new year. It is celebrated by families and friends gathering together for a reunion dinner, during which they would eat special foods and give each other red envelopes filled with money.

Shopping, Food and Fireworks During Chinese New Year in Vancouver

Here in Vancouver, Chinese New Year is celebrated with lots of fanfare and celebration. There are parades, dragon dances, and firecrackers galore! It's a really wonderful time to be in the city and experience all the excitement and festive cheer.

Shopping. One popular tradition is giving red envelopes stuffed with money to children and loved ones. Vancouver's Chinatown is the perfect place to shop for Chinese New Year, as you'll find all sorts of traditional goods, from these lucky red envelopes and decorations to garments and snacks. If you're looking for a more authentic experience though, try one of the many Chinese supermarkets in the area. They'll have everything you need to cook a traditional feast at home.

Food. Another big component of these celebrations is food! During Chinese New Year, it's customary to eat lots of dumplings and fish because they both symbolize good luck. Also during this time, many restaurants in Vancouver will be offering special menus and discounts. So, if you want to try something really unique, head to one of them or maybe one of the city's night markets. There, you will find all sorts of delicious street food, from dumplings and noodles to BBQ and desserts.

Fireworks. Finally, no Chinese New Year celebration would be complete without fireworks! Vancouver's Chinatown always puts on an incredible display, so make sure to check it out if you can.

As you can see, there's truly something for everyone during Chinese New Year in Vancouver. So whether you're looking for a traditional experience or something a little more modern, you're sure to find it here.

There are many events and activities that take place during the celebration. Some of the most popular ones are the Chinatown parade, the lion dance, and the firecracker show. These events are always very exciting and fun to watch.

If you are in Vancouver during Chinese New Year, be sure to check out the festivities! You will definitely enjoy yourself.

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