A dragon in Vancouver

Photo courtesy of Fire Dragon Festival

The Fire Dragon Festival returns Saturday, September 17, 2022 in Chinatown, which will be magnificently decorated for the occasion, in order to welcome visitors old and new. The event will bring Chinatown’s community together, highlighting the past and present through celebration, cultural activities, performances and culinary exploration.

The second annual Fire Dragon Festival, held at the Chinese Cultural Centre Courtyard, will offer free workshops and tours throughout the day. A new AR (augmented reality) fire dragon awaits the public. A unique spectacular Fire Dragon dance, rich in cultural traditions, will close the festival.

The legend of the Fire Dragon

Originating in Tai Hang, Hong Kong, the Fire Dragon Dance can be traced back to over 100 years ago. Following stormy weather, the villagers of Pok Fu Lam were attacked by a snake, destroying the village’s peaceful community. The villagers were able to catch and kill the snake but a few days after the snake’s death, a plague broke out in Tai Hang.

Lanterns, dance and good food are to be found at the Mid-Autumn Festival. | Photo courtesy of Fire Dragon Festival

After a village elder proclaimed being visited by Buddha in a dream. He was told that to stop the misfortune, the villagers had to perform a fire dragon dance around the village for three days and three nights. The villagers followed the advice and the plague miraculously went away. Thus began the tradition of the Fire Dragon Dance.

Since then, the Fire Dragon Dance has been the main activity of the mid-autumn celebration in Pok Fu Lam and is a traditional custom of the Hakka ethnic group from China.

Activities and education

#Elimin8Hate, a group that strives to foster racial equity and an inclusive society for all Asian Canadians will be offering various games. For the scavenger at heart, an AR hunt with the Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Area Society (BIA) is on the agenda.

The Fire Dragon Dance originated in Tai Hang, Hong Kong over a hundred years ago.| Photo courtesy of Fire Dragon Festival

Language Arts Base (LAB), an art and academic studio for children and adults, will enable participants to create their own arts and crafts. Colouring workshops will be offered by the Chinese-Canadian Museum.

If hungry, the public can join instructor Jessica Yue, for a taste and a little education on Chinese-style Mooncakes.

For a fee, Bob Sung will offer a culinary and cultural tour, A Wok around Chinatown. All proceeds will go to support the Yarrow Society and their COVID-19 Senior Support Program offering culturally appropriate groceries.

For the sporty types, a Chinese chopstick race is planned, organized by the Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice, an organization that supports youth and low-income immigrant seniors in Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside.

In some chopstick races, participants use a pair of chopsticks to pick up a number of objects. The chosen objects are placed in one of two bowls then transferred to the other as fast as possible, moving all objects safely across. Hands must not be used at any time. If an object is dropped, it must be picked up and put back in the first bowl. Only one object can be moved at a time.

In honour of the Fire Dragon, members of all Metro Vancouver’s various communities are invited to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon with Chinatown’s own community. The Chinese Cultural Centre’s vision is to establish a community tradition through partnership and collaboration in order to strengthen awareness and education about Chinatown’s cultural legacy for years ahead.