There’s so much on that Lunar New Year events get their own post.
Don’t forget to see Valentine’s Day Events for Kids on this week too!
Lunar New Year Parade
Where: The parade route starts at the Millennium Gate on Pender St. It proceeds east along E Pender St. from Carrall to Gore, then south along Gore to Keefer St, and west along Keefer St. back to Carrall (see the route map)
What: This long-standing Vancouver tradition (40 years running) has sixty parade entries this year including lion dances, cultural dance troupes, marching bands, and martial arts performances. Each year 50,000 people come out to watch the festivities, so why not bring your little one to experience ringing in the Year of the Snake? The lion dancers alone are pretty cool and there’s a chance after the parade to see them up close. The lion dance troupes will stick around and showcase their skills while performing in front of shops in Chinatown from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. There’s lots more to do in the same neighbourhood that day as well, which includes cultural kids’ activities. Read on…
Lunar Fest: Lanterns, Music and Dumplings Downtown, free
Where: Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza, Georgia and Howe (map)
What: Lunar Fest showcases Lunar New Year traditions with activities, live music and cool art installations, such as the “Lantern Jungle” featured this year. You can wow your kid with the display of lanterns (all lit by environmentally friendly LED lights) and stick around for a talk explaining how they’re made with the “master of the lanterns”. The festival encompasses many different Asian traditions, so in some ways you’re getting more for your time (since it’s free, you don’t need to worry about getting your money’s worth!). Highlights include a showcase of different lion dancers of the world, live music from Eastern Legends (a punky-looking Asian/Rock fusion band, see photo below), and demonstrations of Korean-style music and dance. There’s also a dumpling festival showcasing dumplings from different areas of Asia. The activities are very kid-friendly, including fortune telling, meeting a Qing Emperor (photo op!), marble games and a spot-the-differences game called “Perfect Vision”. You can see much more in the program guide and check out more photos on the lunar fest site.
- 1:00 – 2:00 pm – The Secrets in the Lantern (Talk with the lantern master)
- 3:00 – 4:00 pm – Seollal in Vancouver (Korean New Year traditions, incl. dancing and drums)
- 5:00 – 6:00 pm – Eastern Legends (Asian / Rock fusion band)
New Year Activities and Games for Kids, by donation
Where: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, 578 Carrall Street (map)
What: Before or after taking in the parade downtown, you can enjoy the tranquility of a classical Chinese garden while your kids enjoy Chinese games, crafts and even get a lucky red envelope at the Year of the Snake Temple Fair. Admission is by donation, with a $5 donation suggested. Stroller parking is free, the event site notes, which means that your babes will be perfectly welcome at this family event. Check out the entertainment roster below:
- Traditional Chinese games: bean bag toss, wei-qi, ma-jiang, chopstick games, lantern riddles, yo-yos, shuttlecock and lucky coin toss.
- Activities: dumpling and noodle making demonstration, incense and wish making.
- Arts and crafts for kids: pinwheel, colouring, face painting, balloon twisting
- Lucky Red envelopes handed out by “grandma and grandpa”.
- Live Music Joanna Wang (Er Hu), Helen He: Gu Zhen (Chinese plucked zither), Larry Yan (flute), Toddish McWong (accordion).
- Food and Drinks: candied fruit on sticks, hot tea
- Exhibitions: Eco-Arts Water Snake installation by artist Alastair Heseltine (in partnership with the Community Arts Council of Vancouver), Zodiac exhibition showcases mini figurines from Asia, and come find out what your symbol means.
- Learning: Jade appreciation, calligraphy practice.
Entertainment and Kids Activities at International Village, free
All-ages New Year Luncheon and Activities, only $4
Where: Hastings Community Centre, 3096 E Hastings St. (map)
What: Although there are many options for a nice Chinese New Year dinner, the pickings are a little slim if your budget is $5. Luckily, the Hastings Community Centre will happily provide you with a Chinese luncheon and time to enjoy some cultural activities for only $4. Tickets have been on sale since January 10th, so you might want to call ahead (604-718-6222). Since it’s also Valentine’s Day, this could be a cheap (if not romantically themed) lunch out!