Chinese New Year – Chinatown Celebrations
Happy Chinese New Year….the year of the Dragon…..And Happy Birthday Robert Burns!
January 22nd heralds the beginning of one of the most important events in the Chinese Calender, this year specifically is particularly important as it is the Year of the Dragon. The Dragon undoubtedly is one of the most legendary and symbolic animals of the 12 year cycle celebrated within the Chinese culture, it is also recognised as the symbol of optism and change which this year already seems to be a common feeling among many.
Also, it is not the just the Chinese who are celebrating a very important date on their Calender, it is also a very special week for anyone who is Scottish or has Scottish heritage, which like the Chinese is plentiful in Canada.
January 25th marks the birthday of Robert (Rabbie) Burns, a poet who is legendary in Scottish culture, also know as ‘The Bard‘, Robert Burns is famously known for his poetry and is widely agreed to be known as the National Poet of Scotland. He is to Scotland what William Shakespeare is to England, widely regarded to be responsible for the Romanticist Movement of the 1700s.
In Vancouver, these two events have become quite notorious as both have been married together as one to create the ‘Gung Haggis Fat Choy’ celebrations. A great idea as much of Vancouver is embedded in a rich history and culture that hails from Scotland and China, and what with these events occurring in the same week, it is no surprise that these events were to become one, and thank goodness this did happen, as these events are a great time to explore Scottish and Chinese heritage at various locations around the city. The name was created through the combination of words that are significant for these events, Haggis being the most famous of Scottish dishes, and ‘Gung Hay fat Choy’ is a traditional Cantonese Greeting used during New Year.
Haggis is the National Dish of Scotland and it is very delicious indeed, so for all you meat eaters out there who have never tried Haggis………why on earth not…. please do!!! The dish is best served with Mashed Potato (Tatties) and Mashed Turnip (Neeps). If you are to celebrate this occasion, make sure you have a wee Dram of Whiskey to accompany this famous meal.
Vancouver has one of the oldest China towns in North America, this coming week there will be plenty of events to ring in this important New Year, and as any tourist should, come rain or shine, Vancouver China Town is a must on your schedule.
The most notable events that are taking place are on January 29th where the Chinese Benevolent Association will be celebrating the New Year with a huge Parade, this will begin at 1200 noon and will be a spectacle that suits everyone young and old. As well as the Parade, the weekend will also hold a a festival in the afternoon on the Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to visit China Town and celebrate the New Year Chinese style.
The Gung Haggis Fat Choy event will occur on Sunday January 22nd which is today, however, it is not over. If you feel that you too would like to take part in celebrating The Bards birthday, many more events will be occuring on January 25th. Please see the links we have posted, this will help you find where to go for the best events!!!
Happy New Year, and enjoy yourself if you are celebrating a Robert Burns Supper and have a dram for us!