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North Shore students celebrate Lunar New Year

In-person festivities, including popular lion dances, returned in many communities for the first time since 2020

Students at schools across the North Shore recently celebrated the Lunar New Year with lion dances, traditional Chinese costumes and Chinese good luck candy.

At Seymour Heights Elementary in North Vancouver, vice-principal Joanna Lane worked with Grade 6 student Nichole Skelton to put together photos and stories about how their families celebrate Lunar New Year.

“Both Nichole and I shared some of our traditions, including giving and receiving red envelopes, spending time with family, going to dim sum in the morning, and watching the parade,” Lane wrote.

“At the end of each presentation, we surprised students and staff with Chinese good luck candy. That was a hit!”

Students in West Vancouver schools also celebrated with cultural displays, calligraphy demonstrations and even a lion dance at Ridgeview Elementary.

This year, wider Lunar New Year celebrations, including one at West Vancouver’s Kay Meek Centre and another at the West Vancouver Community Centre, resumed in many communities for the first time since festivities were halted by COVID-19 in 2020.

This Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit, one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are seen as witty and smart, calm and peaceful. Rabbits are believed to be a lucky zodiac signs. They are thought to excel in areas including education, medicine and politics.

The date of Lunar New Year is different every year, although it always falls between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20.

The holiday started Jan. 22 this year and spans 15 days.

Among the traditions associated with the Lunar New Year are traditional lion dances, in which performers in a lion costume mimic the animal’s movements. They are thought to bring good luck.

Another tradition includes handing out red envelopes containing small amounts of money and treats to youth and children. The act is thought to help get rid of bad spirits and wish the recipient good fortune for the upcoming year.

The envelopes are red because the colour symbolizes prosperity in Chinese culture, while money symbolizes the hope for wealth and abundance.

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