Goodbye tiger, hello rabbit

Will the rabbit bring in a tamer year? Associated with peace, longevity and prosperity across Asia, the rabbit is a symbol of hope.

The rabbit should bring hope in 2023. | Photo courtesy of Paint Nite

The Lunar New Year has been celebrated at the time of the new moon since 104 BC, during the Han dynasty, when a date on the traditional Chinese calendar was chosen to mark the start of the year. It is a time of family reunion and feasting, ancestor worship and traditional customs.

On January 22, 2023, the rabbit, the luckiest of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, will hop to it, bringing renewed energy and fertility, focus and determination.

This year’s Rabbit is associated with yin water, that is rain, cold water, lakes and rivers and speaks to fluidity and gentle influence on surroundings.

“A crafty rabbit has three burrows,” says an old Chinese adage, implying that the rabbit not only has many ideas but is also good at adapting to the environment and can move very quickly if it needs to take cover.

What to do to welcome the rabbit

Kicking off the festivities, UBC Botanical Garden is hosting its first Lunar New Year event in 2023 to welcome the year of the rabbit on Jan. 14.

The UBC Botanical Garden Lunar New Year Market will feature local makers, artists and crafters. The event will also offer lion dances, kung fu performances from UBC Kung Fu Club and dance performances from UBC Hanfu Culture Society and YunTang Dance Club.

On Jan. 15, there will be a fundraiser for the Vietnam Education Society. The Vietnam Education Society, a registered Canadian charity, welcomes the Lunar New Year through a fundraising lunch. A six-course lunch along with Vietnamese music and dance performances, as well as a silent auction, raffle and other fun activities are on the menu. The society aims to support their anti-trafficking efforts by sending at-risk girls in rural Vietnam to camp and school.

Brushes ready? Paint a rabbit | Photo courtesy of Paint Nite

On Jan. 18, the Vancouver Public Library will hold a celebration of the Lunar New Year with a traditional tea ceremony featuring Joyce Ji from Wang Family Teapots and music from the B.C. Chinese Music Association. There will also be a special visit from Sherman Tai, fortune teller and Feng Shui master, who will share his predictions for the upcoming year.

On Jan. 21, in Richmond, children of all ages are invited to a two-hour bunny painting session called Paint Nite: “Honey-bun.” Run by local artists, the event includes all supplies needed to create a work of art. They will be doing a guided, step by step demonstration. No prior experience is necessary. Classes are a judgment-free zone where everyone is encouraged to explore and be creative. Seating is open and the demonstration begins exactly 10 minutes after the start time listed.

The Sun Yat Sen Garden is hosting an array of performances and attractions from Jan. 21–22, including lion dancer, guzheng players, arts and crafts and delicious food. There will also be a production by City Opera Vancouver and the premiere of a brand new exhibition by Chairman Ting. The garden also offers an array of online Lunar New Year related activities.

Jan. 22 brings back the Chinatown Spring Festival Parade and S.U.C.C.E.S.S., a multicultural, multi-service agency assisting people at all stages of their Canadian experience. They are looking for 200 volunteers to be part of a dynamic team that plays an essential role in making the parade a success.

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