The lions and dragons have returned for the Year of the Rabbit to Calgary’s Chinatown.
Calgary’s Chinese community celebrated the start of the lunar new year at the Chinese Cultural Centre on January 14, making the start of a pair of weekend celebrations at the centre.
Saturday’s lion dance also marked the first in-person celebration of the new year at the centre since the pandemic began.
“It’s a celebration of community and culture, it’s as a celebration of our founders, so having people come on right now, it’s a joy to me and a joy to all the Chinese communities,” said Ward 7 Councillor Terry Wong.
New Year celebrations start at noon on January 14, 15, 21, and 22 with lion dance performances by the Jing Wo Cultural Association, followed by a variety of cultural performances by local cultural groups.
The lion dance was attended by representatives of Calgary’s Chinese community associations, and members of city council and provincial MLAs.
“I’ve been here in Canada for 30 years, and this is the event I always make sure that I have time to participate in,” said Calgary Beddington MLA Josephine Pon.
Mayor Gondek and Coun. Wong gave New Year greetings on behalf of Calgary City Council, while Pon gave greetings on behalf of the government, and Calgary Buffalo MLA Joe Ceci gave greetings on behalf of the official opposition.
A renewed focus on Chinatown for 2023
Coun. Wong called this year a renewed year for Chinatown, and for Calgary’s Chinese community.
“Working with the Chinatown Cultural Centre and the BIA, there’s gonna be a lot of festivals happening throughout the year.”
“With the approval of the Tomas giant on implementation plan, we’ve got some monies to really dedicate to celebrating the community and heritage.”
Mayor Jyoti Gondek said it was absolutely critical to celebrate life at every opportunity.
“What better way than to celebrate Lunar New Year with friends and family and members of Calgary’s Chinatown community—this is just an incredible day for Calgary.”
“Over time the Chinese community in Calgary has faced a lot of hatred and racism, and they’ve overcome it at every turn. They’ve had to relocate three times, and now that this Chinatown is where it is, we need to remember how valuable or the contributions of Chinese Calgarians have been over time, and how important they will continue to be in the future.”
More upcoming Lunar New Years events
- UCalgary is holding a Lunar New Year celebration concert about the 12 Chinese zodiac animals on January 22 from composer Vincent Ho. Tickets are free, and can be booked at events.ucalgary.ca/arts/creative-performing-arts/event/424574-2023-lunar-new-year-celebration-concert-the-twelve.
- Jing Wo Cultural Association is performing lion dances at the Calgary Farmers Market South from 9 to 10 am on January 21, and CFM West from 3 pm to 4 pm on January 22.
- Flautist Jiajia Li and guests perform Eagle’s Ascept by Toronto Composer Kevin Lau, at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church from 3 pm to 5 pm on January 22. Tickets available online through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/peaks-and-valleys-chinese-new-year-celebration-tickets-500517480257.
- Carya Village Commons is holding a Year of the Rabbit themed art class for kids aged 5-10 on January 30 from 4:30 to 5:30 pm.
- Chinatown BIA is holding a Chinese New Year Gala on February 1 at the Regency Palace Restaurant. More details at www.calgary-chinatown.ca.
- Seollal, the Korean Lunar New Year, is being celebrated at the Calgary Central Library from 2 pm to 5 pm on February 4. Performances include Taekwondo, K-Pop, and traditional Korean percussion.
- Sien Lok Society is holding their 2023 Chinese New Year gala at the Regency Palace Restaurant on February 4 from 5:30 pm to 11:30 pm. Tickets are available at www.eventbrite.ca/e/sien-lok-societys-2023-cny-gala-fundraiser-tickets-467150709347