Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Vancouver, B.C.
Photo by Kim Stallknecht/The Vancouver Sun

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Written by Nila Gopaul. Originally posted to The Westcoast Reader, March 2015

St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday.
On this day, people celebrate
the life of St. Patrick.
St. Patrick was born in the year 387.
He brought Christianity to Ireland.
Experts believe St. Patrick
died on March 17, 461.
So this is the day the holiday is observed.
Watch Irish dancing and listen to Irish language on the next page.

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Happy Lunar New Year!

Vancouver's annual Chinese New Year parade in 2014. Photo by Ward Perrin/The Vancouver Sun

Vancouver’s annual Chinese New Year parade in 2014
Photo by Ward Perrin/The Vancouver Sun

Adapted from article written by Nila Gopaul, originally posted to The Westcoast Reader, February 2015

Every year, during Lunar New Year,
many cities and towns in B.C.
are filled with red banners.
Sometimes there are lion dances,
parades and crowds.
Restaurants are filled with many people.

Around the world
Lunar New Year celebrations
last for 15 days.
Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean communities
celebrate this time.
Sometimes this holiday is called
the Spring Festival.

Why is red important?
Red is the colour of luck, joy and wealth.
Stories long ago say evil is frightened
by the colour red.
The colour is similar to fire.

Red envelopes
Older adults give red envelopes
to younger, unmarried family members.
It is a blessing for good luck, health and wealth.
Usually the envelopes have money.
A parent might give each child $100.
An aunt may give a nephew $20.
A family friend may give $5.

Why is food important?
New Year’s Eve dinner
is the most important meal
of this holiday.
Often, families get together.

Dishes like whole fish, dumplings, chicken
and vegetarian Buddha’s Feast
are favourite foods during this holiday.
Many people believe
these foods bring good luck.

Fish and dumplings
The Chinese word for “fish” is yue.
Yue sounds like “wealth” in Chinese.
And dumplings look like old Chinese money.

Finishing a fish dinner Photo by Jonathan Ooi/CC, Flickr

Finishing a fish dinner
Photo by Jonathan Ooi/CC, Flickr

Dumplings before cooking Photo by kattebelletje/CC, Flickr

Dumplings before cooking
Photo by kattebelletje/CC, Flickr

Chinese gold ingots Photo by Raymondtan85/CC, Flickr

Old Chinese money called gold ingots
Photo by raymondtan85/CC, Flickr

Chicken
Chicken is also a traditional dish.
Sometimes, a restaurant may write
“phoenix” on its menu, not chicken.
The Phoenix is a bird in storybooks.
This bird symbolizes rebirth.

A drawing of a phoenix Photo – Public Domain

A drawing of a phoenix
Photo – Public Domain

Buddha’s Feast
Buddha’s Feast is made with eight vegetarian ingredients.
Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture.
The number sounds like “wealth” in Chinese.

Buddha's feast Photo by Louise Gadd/CC, Flickr

Buddha’s feast
Photo by Louise Gadd/CC, Flickr

Shopping
Some malls and stores in communities across B.C.
will have celebrations, too.
This is the time to buy new shoes and clothes.
New things symbolize new beginnings, a fresh foot forward.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!
This means “Best wishes and Congratulations.
Have a prosperous and good year.”

Events

  1. 2017 Spring Festival Parade is on January 29
    Click here for more information and a map or the route.
  2. Lunar New Year Festival Schedule of Events

This year, people celebrate the Year of the Rooster.

Watch this video at the Vancouver parade in 2014: