Tigers Together: Lunar New Year 2022!
It's time to ring in the Lunar New Year!
You & Me BC
January 31st, 2022
Lunar New Year begins on February 1st, and weeks of festivities will follow. 2022 is the Year of the Tiger, and LunarFest is back in BC for another series of celebrations and cultural events to ring in the occasion.
We talked with LunarFest's Charlie Wu about the background of Lunar New Year, why this year is so special, and what's planned for LunarFest.
What is Lunar New Year?
Charlie: Lunar New Year's one of the oldest traditions for many Asians cultures - not just for Chinese, but also Korean, Vietnamese, and Taiwanese for example. Everyone has a different name for it.
The tradition follows the lunar calendar, which is based on moon cycles, so this is the time people are ready to welcome spring after winter. It's a time for new beginnings and to be with family.
DID YOU KNOW? In Vietnam, Lunar New Year is known as Tet; in Korea, it's called Solnal
What's the significance of the Year of the Tiger?
Charlie: 2010, the year of the Olympics in Vancouver, was Year of the Tiger, And once again it's here, but in a very different time.
The tiger's a symbol of strength, and that gave rise to this year's LunarFest theme: together is stronger. Tigers are strong alone, but they also look out for one another, which makes them even more powerful.
The previous Year of the Tiger was in 2010, during the Vancouver Winter Olympics
We want to take that spirit and share it with the community in a time when looking out for one another is much needed. It's also a chance for us to be mindful of how to coexist with the environment and animals.
What's the meaning of the red envelopes given out - also known as hóngbāo?
Charlie: You can think of the red envelopes like a small Christmas gift. They contain a bit of money or a small item, and they're only given out right before or during New Years.
This teaches patience and instills the value of saving. They also give luck to help people grow and advance along the way.
How did LunarFest begin?
Charlie: LunarFest started back in 2009. As Olympic preparation was underway, it was agreed that it would be good to have Asian cultures represented during the games, so a team came together and created LunarFest.
Some of the events and creations of LunarFest
In the first event, we created a lantern forest over Granville Bridge in Vancouver. The tradition has continued, but it's evolved too.
In 2019 for example, we collaborated with Destination Vancouver to create coastal lunar lanterns at Jack Poole Plaza, and we also invited indigenous nations artists to come together and share their traditions.
So it's become a mixed cultural event, where we engage communities that don't necessarily celebrate the tradition, and this year Punjabi artists will participate too.
What events are planned for LunarFest this year?
Charlie: Quite a few things are planned!
On February 5th and 6th we'll be holding several events. There will be celebrations at the Vancouver Art Gallery and along Robson Street for example, and more info's available on our website.
We'll also be exploring culinary traditions, making and trying many traditional dishes. The pandemic has of course impacted the event over the last couple years, but it's always a lot of fun!
To learn more about LunarFest, visit www.lunarfestvancouver.ca
To get in touch with Spencer van Vloten, editor of You & Me BC, please send an email to email@example.com