The 3-week Lunar New Year celebrations begin in Victoria’s Chinatown

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After two years of pandemic-related Lunar New Year celebrations, Canada’s oldest Chinatown began three weeks of personal Year of the Rabbit celebrations.

While Sunday starts the New Year, the traditional lion dance parade will take place next weekend, on Sunday 29 January.

“We are very excited,” said Daniel Low, a lion dancer and member of the Wong Sheung Kung Fu Club.

“I think I’m 30 years old now doing the lion dance.”

Low said he expected the pent-up excitement of two years without a New Year’s parade to result in bigger crowds than usual, rain or shine.

“My suggestion is to get out early,” he said.

Although the big event is next weekend, the festivities are already underway, with the next three weeks offering everything from lychee and New Year’s cake tasting to fortune telling and lantern painting.

All of this is on display at the Canadian Chinese Museum’s Victorian Exhibition on Fan Tan Alley.

“We couldn’t do this during COVID,” said Charlayne Thornton-Joe, the museum’s facilities coordinator.

“We are very pleased that the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association is bringing the celebrations back.”

Businesses are also excited about the return of crowds, and not just because of the boost it will bring to their bottom line.

“This time of year means a lot of good food, good company, family time,” said Ricky Yaiu, manager of Don Mee Seafood Restaurant.

“It’s a happy time of the year.”

According to Thornton-Joe, the years under the Rabbit zodiac sign are said to bring positive change.

“As a symbol of peace, it is a symbol of how to go, but you have to be careful,” she said. “If you ever notice a rabbit in your yard, keep an eye on everything.”

For the full list of Lunar New Year celebrations, visit the Canadian Chinese Museum website.


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