One of the best places to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Metro Vancouver is at the International Buddhist Temple in Richmond at 9160 Steveston Highway.
New Year’s Eve at Buddhist Temple
February 5th, 2019, marks the beginning of the Year of the Pig according to the Chinese calendar.
Celebrations begin on February 4th, New Year’s Eve, and nowhere are the festivities more culturally interesting than at the International Buddhist Temple between around 10:00 am and 11:30 pm. Although the celebrations go all day, it’s at night when they become especially amazing.
What to Expect on New Year’s Eve
Being a Buddhist Temple, don’t expect fireworks and people drinking alcohol in the streets. Rather, expect to smell incense and Asian foods, to hear the occasional gong and chanting, and to see beautiful lanterns, massive temple buildings, thousands of (primarily Chinese and other Asian) people walking around, golden statues and elaborate gardens all lit up in the evening. Truly, the experience at night is spectacular – in a Zen Buddhist kind of way.
The best time to be at the temple on New Year’s Eve is after dark, with the place getting increasingly busy and lively as the evening progresses. Get there early to find parking, but not too early that you miss the crowds completely.
The crowds start getting big around 9:00 to 10:00 pm. Expect to stay for at least one hour, but likely more, especially if arriving later in the evening. If it’s not raining and you can stay until 11:00 or so, you won’t be disappointed.
Admission and Parking
Admission to the International Buddhist Temple is free every day of the year, including on New Year’s Eve, although donations are appreciated.
Parking at the temple during the day isn’t usually a problem, but at night on New Year’s Eve it can get crazy. Volunteers do a great job of directing traffic, however, and fields are opened up on the property to accommodate the masses. That being said, don’t expect to find parking anywhere nearby in the later part of the evening.
TIP: Carpool with friends and get their early, or take public transit if possible (although it’s a bit out of the way).
See International Buddhist Temple for more information on the temple.
Check out Year of the Dog for other Chinese New Year activities in Metro Vancouver.