Chinese New Year ushers in the fire monkey

Freshly made dumplings, fish and spring rolls will be quintessential dinner items in houses across the country as the Chinese community ushers in the Chinese New Year on Feb.8.

It is common knowledge that each year represents a different animal from the Chinese zodiac, but what some may not know is that it is also associated with an element of the earth. This year is the Year of the Fire Monkey.

If you’re expecting a baby this year your little one could be a handful.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, children born in the Year of the Monkey are quick-witted, curious, innovative and mischievous.

Cross your fingers though because it’s believed to be one of the unlucky years of the Chinese zodiac cycle.

Traditional Chinese New Year celebrations centre around the family. A large feast is prepared on the eve of Chinese New Year and children are given money in red envelopes, thought to bring good luck. On the day of the New Year, many pay homage to their ancestors.

“This is supposed to be the biggest celebration in Chinese culture. In China, they have a week off. It’s like what Christmas is for Canadians,” said Jun Ing, Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver Vice President and Chief Coordinator.

Ing’s organization arranges one of the largest Chinese New Year celebrations in the country, and he says according to some, in all of North America. The feature of the celebration is a parade in downtown Vancouver, bringing together various communities adding up to over 3,000 participants. This year’s parade, on Feb.14, will be the 43rd.

The parade is accompanied by the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Cultural Fair.

CAF units in Vancouver also take part in the parade. This year HMCS Discovery’s Reserve unit and various cadet units will participate in the parade. Other units helped to create displays. The CAF has been taking part for several years.

“It’s on our calendar. All the communities that we’re involved in look forward to CAF participation,” said Capt. Chris  Poulton, Public Affairs Officer.

Last year the Naden Band and the Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) from CFB Esquimalt attended, along with Sonar, the Navy mascot.

Similar celebrations are planned in other large cities across Canada including Toronto and Ottawa.

The Year of the Fire Monkey will begin Feb. 8 and last until Jan. 27, 2017. Each year the date changes since the year follows a lunisolar Chinese calendar. The next Year of the Monkey will be in 2028.

Read more about the year of the monkey and what it has in store for you.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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