In 2024 the start of the Lunar New Year is on Saturday, February 10th.
This article contains information about Lunar New Year in general as well as a list of things to do and see during the holiday season in the Lower Mainland.
Lunar New Year Celebrations in the Lower Mainland
A number of East-Asian cultures celebrate Lunar New Year including the Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese. It’s the same in Singapore, Brunei, Taiwan and Tibet, and other places with large Chinese populations like Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. It’s also a big occasion in Canada, especially in cities like Vancouver and Richmond.
Lunar New Year Events in the City of Vancouver
The following events celebrating the Lunar New Year take place in and around Vancouver in 2024:
- Lunarfest Vancouver – a series of events and activities happen between February 9th and 29th. There’s a performance at the Orpheum on February 13th. There’s also a weekend of free activities outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on February 10th and 11th, and things to see and do at Granville Island on the weekends of February 10th & 11th, 17th to 19th, and 24th & 25th..
- The Lantern City – affiliated with Lunarfest Vancouver, there are lantern art displays outside the Vancouver Art Gallery (Feb. 9th to 28th) and on Granville Island (Feb. 9th to 26th). Lantern art installations are also at Jack Poole Plaza beside the Vancouver Convention Centre (Feb. 9th to 27th) and at the Pendulum Gallery (from Feb. 5th to Mar. 1st).
- LNY Splash Films at VIFF – a series of Asian films take place at the VIFF Centre in downtown Vancouver on February 16th, 17th and 18th. Also part of LNY Splash, there are art displays at four locations in Vancouver.
- Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade – this is one of the city’s largest and most impressive parades. In 2024 it takes place on Sunday, February 11th.
- Chinese New Year at International Village – the mall in Chinatown is full of interesting things to see and do on February 10th and 11th in 2024.
- Chinese Canadian Museum – the museum in Chinatown has special activities on February 10th and 11th between 10:00 and 5:00 pm in 2024. On the 10th there are calligraphy demonstrations as well as tours of the museum. On the 11th there are more tours as well as printmaking demonstrations and Lion dancing.
Other Lunar New Year Events
Lunar New Year celebrations also usually take place at the International Buddhist Temple and Thrangu Monastery in Richmond (although maybe not so much in 2024). Festivities also happen at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown.
In addition to the above, celebratory activities take place at a number of Lower Mainland shopping centres. Most notably, these include International Village in Vancouver’s Chinatown and both Aberdeen Mall and Lansdowne Centre in Richmond. There is also usually lion dancing at other malls too.
MUSEUM & WALKING TOURS IN VANCOUVER’S CHINATOWN
An exceptional way to learn about the Lunar New Year and Chinese-Canadian history in Vancouver is to join a walking tour with Historical Chinatown Tours. Join one if you can. They are very interesting, informative and fun.
Another top place to learn about Chinese Canadians and their history in this country is the Chinese Canadian Museum at 51 East Pender Street in the heart of Chinatown. It’s a terrific museum! It also has special activities on the Lunar New Year weekend in 2024.
About Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year is a national holiday in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It’s not a national holiday in countries like the Philippines, Japan or Canada, but it’s still a time of festivities for many people. As much as 25% of the planet’s population celebrates Lunar New Year in some way.
Lunar New Year in China and Elsewhere
In 2024, starting on February 10th, it’s the Year of the Dragon for the Vietnamese. In that year the zodiac sign is the same in Vietnam as most other cultures with the lunar calendar.
With South Korea, the holiday is called Seollal and it takes place on the same date as in China. In Tibet, however, the Lunar New Year sometimes takes place on the same date as elsewhere, but not always. That’s in part due to time differences.
According to the Chinese tradition, there are twelve years in the lunar calendar with each represented by a different animal. They are the rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, pig, rat, ox and tiger. People born in the different years are believed to have similar personality traits and characteristics. Rabbits, for example, tend to be gentle, elegant, quiet, cautious, sensitive and patient.
Although it happens in the winter for most parts of China (other than in the tropical south coast), Lunar New Year is celebrated as the “Spring Festival” in China. This is why the parade in Vancouver is the Chinatown Spring Festival Parade.
The lunar calendar revolves around the phases of the moon, which is why the date changes from year to year. There are about 354 days in the lunar year which is the length of time it takes for the moon to travel around earth twelve full times.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Lunarfest Vancouver
- Chinese New Year in Vancouver
- Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade
- Vancouver’s Chinatown
- Historical Chinatown Tours
- Vancouver Taiwanese Festivals
- Vancouver’s ExplorASIAN Festival
To learn about Canada’s oldest Chinatown, which is in BC’s capital city, see the website VictoriasBestPlaces.com.