Though the world has already shifted into a new calendar year, other calendars are yet to celebrate.
The Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, marks the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar calendar, and is celebrated not only by people in and from China, but also Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Philippines, and Indonesia.
According to the Chinese zodiac cycle, 2023 is the year of the Rabbit (specifically the Water Rabbit) which is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity.
This year, Lunar New Year's Day falls on a Sunday (Jan. 22) and many will be celebrating over the weekend.
While some may want to celebrate the new year with friends and family, there will also be events held in and around Vancouver for the community to gather and commemorate together. Several restaurants across Metro Vancouver will also have special menus and dishes created to bring prosperity and good health for the year ahead.
Lunar New Year events in Vancouver
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Vancouver's Chinatown neighbourhood will be lively over the Chinese New Year weekend.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden will hold two days of celebrations, including a Lion Dance, Guzheng (a Chinese plucked zither; a musical instrument made of a flat wooden sound box with numerous strings stretched across), tea ceremonies, calligraphy, traditional foods, and more.
Attendees will also see the premiere of the brand new Billion Buns Exhibition by Chairman Ting.
Chinatown Spring Festival Parade
Chinatown will also see the return of the annual Spring Festival Parade after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The parade will take place on Jan. 22 at 11 a.m. and onlookers can watch dragon and lion dancers and other performers promenade through the streets. There will be multiple road closures in the neighbourhood as well.
Chinatown Storytelling Centre
The Chinatown Storytelling Centre is hosting a series of community events to ring in the Year of the Rabbit, including a discussion with an award-winning author and illustrator, a family-friendly painting event, and a heritage food tasting night.
Here is when each event will take place:
- The Power of Animation with Trevor Lai - Jan. 21, 4-5 p.m.; Chinatown Storytelling Centre (Main Lobby); $5
- Trevor Lai, an award-winning author and illustrator, will share his journey as a creative entrepreneur, from growing up in Vancouver and publishing his first book at 17 years old to founding one of the most successful animation studios in China.
- Year of the Rabbit Paint Event - Jan. 22, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (drop in); Chinatown Storytelling Centre (Main Lobby); free
- Paint a lucky rabbit and meet the God of Weatlh, who will be sharing blessings and passing out treats, at this family-friendly drop-in event.
- Year of the Rabbit Heritage Food Tasting + Cantopop/K-pop night - Jan. 28, 6-8:30 p.m.; Chinatown Storytelling Centre; $35
- Taste bespoke Lunar New Year dishes from the neighbourhood, learn the cultural significance of each dish, and support local Chinatown chefs. Afterwards, enjoy Cantopop and K-pop performances in the centre's theatre
LunarFest and The Lantern City
This year's LunarFest festivities will be held at at šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square at the Vancouver Art Gallery and at Ocean Art Works on Granville Island, along with additional celebrations at Jack Poole Plaza, West End Robson and the Orpheum.
The Lantern City and LunarFest will pop up on different dates at each location.
The Vancouver Art Gallery will see The Lantern City from Jan. 20 to Feb. 7 and LunarFest from Jan. 21 to Jan. 22.
Granville Island will see The Lantern City from Jan. 20 to Feb. 20 and LunarFest from Jan. 21 to Feb. 20.
The UBC Botanical Garden will be hosting its first Lunar New Year event this year. The market will feature local vendors, lion dances, kung fu and dance performances, as well as fresh flowers and potted plants for sale.
Dance performances will take place just before noon and will be followed by lion dances and kung fu performances at 1 p.m.
The event will take place on Jan. 14 and Jan. 15, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., which is a week ahead of Lunar New Year's Day. Each ticket costs $5 and includes admission to the Asian Garden.
Vancouver Public Library events
The library will host numerous events at different library locations leading up to the Lunar New Year, form calligraphy to puppet shows. Browse the Vancouver Public Library's Lunar New Year events here.
CF Pacific Centre
A live performance featuring live music using traditional Chinese instruments will take place at the downtown shopping centre on Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. Displays and photo backdrops will also be available.
The live performance will also take place at CF Richmond Centre on Jan. 29 at 11 a.m.
Lunar New Year events around Metro Vancouver
Those wanting to wander out of the city can find other Lunar New Year celebrations across the Lower Mainland.
The huge shopping centre is hosting a variety of workshops, from calligraphy to paper cutting. There will also be dance performances (every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), a Lion Dance (Jan. 25 at 10 a.m.), a spot to take photos with Tsai Shen Yeh, the God of Wealth, tasting of Chinese cuisine, and many festive decorations.
The festivities will take place from Jan. 22 to Feb. 5.
Aberdeen Centre will be holding its annual 10-day Chinese New Year Flower and Gift Fair from Jan. 13 to Jan. 22.
A self-guided tour of Richmond's dumpling trail is another way to get into the Lunar New Year spirit.