Hosted by the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society, the ExplorASIAN Festival features a series of events celebrating Asian culture in Vancouver in May.
In 2023 the festival ran for the entire month, from May 1st until May 31st. There were also some events in the second half of April. Festival details for 2024 are to be confirmed.
The ExplorASIAN Festival is one of a number of East Asian-themed events in the Lower Mainland. Other significant ones include Lunarfest Vancouver (during the Lunar New Year in January or February), the Taiwanese Canadian Cultural Festival in July, and Taiwanfest in September.
ExplorASIAN Festival in Vancouver
May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada and the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society celebrates the month with an arts and culture festival. During the month of May the organization partners with various groups in Metro Vancouver to host a wide variety of different events.
The ExplorASIAN Festival is celebrating its 28th year in 2024. Last year, there were over 60 events that took place across Metro Vancouver.
Some of the events in 2023 were in-person and some were virtual. The opening ceremony took place on April 29th at the SFU Harbour Centre and was free to attend. Some of the festival’s other events are also free most years, while some events are by donation and others require paid tickets.
On any given year you can expect to see art exhibitions, speaker series, walking tours, interactive workshops, live performances and more.
2023 ExplorASIAN Events
As mentioned above, there are dozens of festival events that take place each year. There are too many to list in this article. Below are just a few of the events that happened last year. For the full schedule click ExplorASIAN 2023.
Canada Line Exhibition Walking Tour
One event during last year’s festival was a walking tour with local artists. Faune Ybarra and Jaspal Birdi took guests on a walk to admire their public artwork at various Canada Line stations in Richmond.
The tour took place on April 23rd between 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm. It started at Aberdeen Station at 4100 No. Road. Admission was free but registration was required.
OTHER WALKING TOURS
If you like walking tours, then be sure to also check out Historical Chinatown Tours. They take place at other times of the year too. Forbidden Vancouver is also another exceptional walking tour company, although it focuses on Vancouver history in general.
ExplorASIAN Spring Show
A regular event at the festival each year is the Vancouver Ikebana Association’s Spring Show. This is a Japanese floral arrangement exhibition including live demonstrations by experienced artists. There is even an opportunity for visitors to take part in a workshop to learn about the practice of ikebana.
The Spring Show is held at the Nikkei National Museum & Culture Centre. In 2023 it took place on May 6th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, and on May 7th from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.
The Tian Jin Temple’s TJ Fest Community Festival
The main focus of the event is Metro Vancouver’s Taiwanese culture, but there are multiple different cultures represented either through live performances or through food available from a variety of vendors. There is also a community market at the event as well as carnival-style games and other family-friendly activities.
TJ Fest took place on May 6th and 7th last year. It ran from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm on both days. In 2024 TJ Fest happens on May 4th and 5th.
To learn more about the event at the Tian Jin Temple, see our article about TJ Fest.
To see what the festival looks like, check out the following video.
About the VAHMS Organization
The Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society (VAHMS) is a non-profit, multicultural arts organization. Its mission is to promote Asian-Canadian arts and culture in Vancouver.
So many different Asian nationalities and cultures are represented in the Lower Mainland. There are people from East Asia which includes China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Mongolia. Southeast Asian countries are Cambodia, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore and a few others. South Asian countries are Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Western Asian or Middle Eastern countries include places like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Turkey, the UAE and Yemen, to name a few. In Central Asia there is Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
The Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society promotes the cultures and arts of all the above ethnic groups, and more.
For more information about the festival, visit the ExplorASIAN website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s May Calendar of Events
- Free Vancouver Events in May
- Vancouver Shows & Entertainment
- History & Culture in Vancouver
- Vancouver’s Chinatown
- Multicultural Heritage Months in Vancouver