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Free things to do to celebrate the Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is a multi-cultural festival that celebrates the new moon. Based on the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar, it is celebrated by many Asian cultures and is a big part of the Vancouver event calendar. This year is the year of the dog, which is perfect because, if you haven’t noticed, Vancouver loves dogs.

These are free or by-donation admission events, but you may be tempted to open your wallet for food, art and craft items, etc.

The 45th Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade

A major highlight of the New Year Festival is this traditional Chinatown parade. The parade features lion dancers, martial arts, cultural dance, marching bands, community groups and more. The Parade starts at the Millennium Gate on Pender Street, heads east to Gore, south to Keefer and ends at Abbott.

Where: Chinatown
When: Feb. 18, 11 am

LunarFest and LunarEats

Enjoy the festival atmosphere over two weekends in February along with some delicious foods and arts and crafts. Learn how to make a dog lantern that you can take home.

Where: Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza
When: Feb. 18; Feb. 24-25

The Lanterns of Blessings

The Lanterns of Blessings will be displayed in the West Galleria of the Oakridge Centre. The lanterns are claimed by individuals prior to the display to bring good fortune in the coming year. There will also be family craft and activities on Family Day (Feb. 12).

Where: Oakridge Centre
When: Feb. 7-25

International Village

International Village is a mall located in Chinatown. Visit the Upper Level for cultural performances and food. You can also check out the art show, which runs from Feb. 10-23, while you are there.

Where: International Village
When: Feb. 16-18

Blessing Ceremony and Lion Dance

The River Rock Casino and Resort will be hosting a blessing ceremony and lion dance in its lobby.

Where: River Rock Casino
When: Feb. 16

Lunar New Year Celebrations at Granville Island

Granville Island will host a Lion Dance Parade. Afterwards, you can see a showcase of sugar painting, a traditional art form.

Where: Granville Island
When: Feb. 17, 10:30 am – 2 pm

Lunar New Year at Lonsdale Quay Market

Lonsdale Quay Market will host a traditional Chinese Fan Dancing performance and workshop, followed by arts and crafts and a lion dance blessing.

Where: Lonsdale Quay
When: Feb. 17, 11 am Performance; 12-3 pm crafts; 3 pm Lions Dance blessing

Year of the Dog Temple Fair

This event is not strictly free (the suggested donation is $5); however, it would be silly not to include such a big part of the festivities in this list. This event includes storytelling, arts and crafts, music and a lion dance, plus many blessings for your good fortune in the coming year.

Where: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
When: Feb. 18, 10 am to 4 pm

Shella Gardezi

Shella Gardezi is a writer and editor living in Vancouver. She loves to travel and created this site to share her love of British Columbia.

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