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Lunar New Year lion dance parade draws big crowds to Victoria's Chinatown

The loud and acrobatic spectacle drew a following crowd of hundreds.
A "lion" performs in downtown Victoria on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. TIMES COLONIST

Lunar New Year traditions drew big crowds to Victoria’s Chinatown on Sunday, with the lion dance parade the highlight, ringing in the Year of the Dragon.

Lion dancers from the Wong Sheung Kung Fu Club pranced past freshly painted red doors on Fisgard Street to spread good luck and fortune by “eating” lettuce offerings left out by businesses.

The loud and acrobatic spectacle drew a following crowd of hundreds.

Several streets were closed to vehicle traffic for the parade, presented by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.

A dragon dance as well as other traditional Chinese dances were also performed.

Many Asian communities are celebrating the Year of the Dragon, which began this year on Feb. 10.

The Lunar New Year is a public holiday in several East Asian and Southeast Asian countries, as well as in Suriname and Mauritius.

Millions of people travel back to their hometowns to reunite with families for the Lunar New Year, which is often celebrated over the course of two weeks.

The festivities spark the world’s biggest yearly human migration.

Authorities in China are predicting about nine billion domestic trips, though there is now also an increasing amount of international vacation travel during the Spring Festival period.

The holiday is widely celebrated in Canada’s diaspora communities as well.

Mike Lee, who was watching the lion parade with his mother Qiongying, said he’s glad that the tradition of celebrating the Lunar New Year is still going strong in Victoria’s Chinatown.

Some of his family in Guangzhou are choosing vacations over family visits, he said in Cantonese. “The festivities there are actually getting more lukewarm. Here, the atmosphere is better.”

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