Port Alberni’s Chinese Canadian Society ensured Lunar New Year got off to a rousing start on Sunday, Jan. 29 with a celebration at the Alberni Athletic Hall.
Members of the city’s Chinese Canadian community celebrated the kickoff to the Year of the Rabbit, according to the Chinese calendar. The Tsai family of Port Alberni provided the lion dance—siblings Joseph and Ellianna were the lion, while Mary Tsai presented the lettuce that was fed to the lion. Lettuce is a symbol of wealth in Lunar New Year lion dances: the word for “lettuce” sounds similar to the word for “wealth.”
Stephen Ho performed the traditional ceremony which included the blessing of the food in the new year before the lion dance. Ho also threw a handful of firecrackers to scare off evil spirits.
The afternoon also included presentations of cheques from the Chinese Canadian Society to several Alberni Valley charities. Money raised came from the society’s food booth at the Alberni District Fall Fair.