Thuy Sin immigrated to Canada from Vietnam 23 years ago, but still has vivid childhood memories about celebrating the Asian Lunar New Year.
“We looked forward to Lunar New Year like Canadian kids look forward to Christmas,” said Sin, a settlement worker with the Immigrant Welcome Centre. “We all got new clothes, time off, lucky money envelopes.
“And we ate, ate and ate!”
But the two weeks of celebration, which falls in late January or in February, was always preceded by a flurry of activity and preparation.
“My not so favourite part was we had to do lots of chores,” she said.
Houses, kitchens and altars had to be swept, scrubbed and decorated to set the stage for the coming celebration and a prosperous new year.
Things aren’t much different right now at the Immigrant Welcome Centre.
The Campbell River non-profit agency is readying for a large celebration and fundraiser to usher in the Year of the Goat.
The event will be held at the Campbell River Community Centre on Saturday, Jan. 24.
The fundraiser will also feature a traditional Chinese dance troupe, an Asian inspired fashion show, a buffet dinner with flavours from across Asia and cash bar, auctions and of course, a DJ and dancing.
Officially, the Lunar New Year starts on Feb. 19 and wraps up Feb. 24. The Year of the Goat, or alternately the Ram or Sheep, is the eighth sign in the 12-year cycle of animals in the Chinese zodiac.
People born in a year of the Goat (1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003 and 2015) are supposedly mild-mannered, stable, and kind with a strong sense of justice.
However, they are believed to be followers rather than leaders.
In addition to predictions and prophecy, Lunar New Year across Asia is a time for self reflection and an occasion for family, friends and neighbours to enjoy each other’s company and re-establish community bonds, said Sin.
The Immigrant Welcome Centre’s celebration will allow Campbell River residents the same opportunities and the chance to learn more about other cultures. “The sharing of cultures and celebrations brings people together,” said Sin. “And then they understand one another better.”
The Lunar New Year celebration is Saturday, January 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Campbell River Community Centre, 401-11th Ave.
Tickets to the 19+ event cost $35 and are available at Amy’s Asian Foods, Royal Coachman Beer and Wine, Chiang Rai Noodle House or the Immigrant Welcome Centre, 740 Robron Road. 250 830-0171.
Proud winner of the 2013 Chamber of Commerce Not-for-Profit of The Year Award, the Immigrant Welcome Centre specializes in immigration and professional services for individuals new to Canada. Over 800 clients from 60 countries have been served in the past year. Services are offered in the Comox Valley, Campbell River and the North Island.