Lunar New Year festivities in Montreal’s Chinatown

“Celebrate with us,” said YiFeng Eva Hu, organizer for the Montreal Lunar New Year Festival, when speaking about the festivities in Montreal’s Chinatown over the weekend to celebrate the Year of the Dragon. Gareth Madoc-Jones reports.

Montreal’s Chinatown celebrated Lunar New Year over the weekend.

Several activities and events were planned to mark the Year of the Dragon.

“This year is the year of the wood dragon,” said organizer YiFeng Eva Hu. “The wood dragon signifies chance, creativity and prosperity. So you can see a lot of creativity happening.”

YiFeng Eva Hu, who organized Montreal’s Chinatown celebrations for Lunar New Year, Feb. 10, 2024. (Gareth Madoc-Jones, CityNews)

“It’s a very important year to celebrate because the dragon means prosperity and is the symbol that symbolizes abundance,” added community leader Winston Chan. “And I think it’s one of the most important signs in Chinese astrology.”

The heart of the festivities is at Sun-Yat-Sen Park and the Chinatown Cultural Centre.

On Saturday, there was a Lunar New Year parade – with a lion dance and dragon dance – as well as a traditional fashion show and art performances in the streets of Chinatown.

On Sunday, a martial arts demonstration is scheduled as well as traditional dancing and Chinese opera.

“We’re so excited because we’re bringing in even more what we had from last year,” YiFeng said. “So on top of all the lanterns and lights on the street, we have a light show at night. We have mini sculptures that’s hidden a little bit around Chinatown that are from the 12 zodiac signs. We have a beautiful arch, we have a wishing tree… and you’re going to be able to put on wishes and do many of the activities indoors as well.”

The celebrations also include events that showcase a variety of Asian cultures, including a Vietnamese instrument music show, and Mandarin and Korean performances.

“Montreal Chinatown is special because we welcomed different groups of immigrants in different times, from the railroad which was ancient China to the Republic of China to now the People’s Republic of China and you’re talking about the Vietnamese group of immigration that came during the Vietnam War, you’re talking about the Chinese, Cambodian that came during a certain time as well in the ‘70s,” said YiFeng. “So these different groups, we want to celebrate them as well.”

“It has been really hard in a couple of years with the pandemic,” added Chan. “And now it’s a great time to celebrate and turn the page and start a whole new Year of the Dragon with a lot of prosperity and a lot of long longevity and health as well.”

Community leader Winston Chan at Montreal’s Chinatown celebrations for Lunar New Year, Feb. 10, 2024. (Gareth Madoc-Jones, CityNews)

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