When B.C. rings in the year of the ox next Friday, it will look unlike any lunar new year the region has seen before.
In Vancouver, gone will be the 3,000-strong Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade with its 100,000 spectators, thanks to COVID-19 restrictions banning events and social gatherings.
There will be no lion dancing or fireworks in the street, no police band marching and no politicians glad-handing.
“There’s a feeling of sadness since we’re not able to come together for the festivities this year,” Anabel Ho, artistic director at the Vancouver Academy of Dance, told Global News.
“But the health and safety of all is what comes first in the grand scheme of things.”
Normally, Ho’s dancers would be participating in the parade, along with performances around the Lower Mainland including at Aberdeen and Lansdown Centres.
Instead, like groups throughout the pandemic, they’ve pivoted to virtual; In this case, by producing a dance video shot in the streets of Chinatown that will be made available online.
Fred Kowk, chair of the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver, said there will also be a “virtual parade,” complete with performances and greetings from community leaders.
And the politicians will get in a little bit of glad-handing in, if virtual, after all.
The virtual event will be intercut with footage from previous years to create the feel and mood of the massive event “so they can share the same joy like in past years,” Kwok said.
“It puts us together through the virtual celebration … we can also bring in more people from home. In a way, that’s a positive result.”
Out at Richmond’s Aberdeen Centre, usually a locus of lunar new year activities, the decorations are still going up, including a stage for performance.
But instead of a live audience, the music and dance will be broadcast on Fairchild TV.
“We still put up all the seasonal decorations, we still have the stage, and we decorated with the ox,” Tiffany Ho, senior general manager with Fairchild Development said.
With the ox representing strength, earnestness, diligence and positivity in the Chinese zodiac, it may be the perfect symbol for a tough year to come.View link »