Many ways to celebrate Chinese New Year

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This is the Year of the Rooster

Chinese New Year, which changes from year to year with the timing of the new moon, will be Jan. 28. That date begins the Chinese year 4715 and will be known as the Year of the Rooster.

In China the celebration begins the spring season and marks the time in some of the warmer parts of the country for planting. It’s a time of renewal for members of Edmonton’s Chinese community.

In Edmonton the celebratory period has been extended for two weeks with the kick-off today (Jan. 14) at West Edmonton Mall.

“Normally before the New Year we buy everything new: new clothes, new shoes – everything you can buy new. Everything should be new before the new year and that’s why we start it this weekend,” said event co-ordinator Betty Yu, from the Edmonton Chinatown Multi-Cultural Centre.

The two-day West Edmonton Mall celebration is going to be an extravaganza, with all the traditional expected fanfare, including dragon and lion dances. Saturday’s events begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 9 p.m. in the Ice Palace. The official dignitary ribbon-cutting opening takes place at 1 p.m.

“On Saturday morning there will be a dragon dance and singing and drums. At 1 p.m. we will also have children from a Chinese school in Edmonton on stage at the Ice Palace and they will be singing traditional New Year songs. We will have Chinese opera and musical instruments,” Yu said, adding that vendors would also be on hand throughout the day selling a variety of foods and souvenirs.

“There will be some food to try and purchase such as traditional Chinese New Year food,” Yu said.

A two-hour multi-cultural celebration including many ethnic groups and dancers from all over the world begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $2.

Sunday, Jan. 15 Chinese New Year celebrations in the West Edmonton Mall Ice Palace are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The traditional dragon and lion dances take place at various times throughout the weekend, Yu said and will be presented by different Chinese cultural groups.

“The dragon dance is a symbol of China and is for good luck. The longer the dragon and dance, the more good luck will be given back to your community. The dragon will be running around to give good luck to everyone there,” she said.

Yu compared the lion dance to martial arts movements.

“It’s not really a dance but it will be noisy with lots of drums to go with it. All that noise chases the spirits away,” she said.

Jan. 21, a second indoor Chinese New Year celebration takes place at Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The grand outdoor celebration takes place Saturday, Jan. 28 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in and around 10629-98 Street, in Edmonton’s Chinatown district. The parade is scheduled for 10 p.m.

“The outdoor events in Chinatown also include a food celebration with vendors selling different New Year’s foods. There will be dance and musical performances all day long,” Yu said.

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About Author

Susan Jones has been a freelance writer for the St. Albert Gazette since 2009, following a 20-year career at the St. Albert Gazette. Susan writes about homes, gardens, community events and people.