Chinese Public School students Jonathan Lin

Chinese Public School students Jonathan Lin

Dragon meets horse for Chinese New Year

Victoria's Chinatown celebrations continue this weekend

It’s all dragons, dancing and dumplings in Chinatown this weekend, as the neighbourhood rings in the year of the horse.

Festivities for Chinese New Year, which officially begins Friday (Jan. 31), have been in full swing for more than a week, but Sunday’s celebration offers a chance for the wider community to partake, said Kileasa Wong, principal of the Victoria Chinese Public School.

“We just want to wish everybody a good year of the horse,” said Wong, who has been supervising her students as they prepare to perform the Dragon Dance down Fisgard Street.

The parade begins at noon with a grandiose lion making its way through the neighbourhood to local businesses, a flurry of gold and red banishing bad luck and evil spirits.

“Businesses put out envelopes with money to welcome to lion,” Wong says.

“The lion jumps and gongs and brings in the good luck.”

In addition to embracing lucky red and gold colours, traditions abound over culinary delicacies that are thought to increase longevity, wealth and good fortune. Noodles and oranges, and fish served whole and eaten from head to tail, are never in short supply.

The year of the horse represents a time of strength, hard work and healthy vibrancy, said Grant Shan, Chinese New Year committee director with the Victoria Chinese Community Association. He and his team hosted a sold-out performance at the University of Victoria’s 1,000-seat Farquhar Auditorium last weekend.

“It’s like Christmas,” Shan said. “No matter where you are in the world, you go home to a family reunion, to celebration. It’s a big holiday.”

Lion dance, kung fu and tai chi demonstrations, traditional dancing, dragon performances and Chinese tea ceremonies run Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. near the Gate of Harmonious Interest in the 500-block of Fisgard St.

dpalmer@vicnews.com