Chinese New Year celebrations going virtual for second year due to ongoing pandemic


The Chinese New Year is one week away and for the second year in a row, it’s being celebrated during the pandemic.

That means lion dances and in-person festivities that are usually held at Victoria’s Chinatown are once again cancelled and will instead take place virtually.

While it’s not the way the community hoped to ring in the holiday, they’re finding other ways to mark the occasion, like Wong Sheung Kung Fu Club which is planning to post a pre-recorded lion dance performed by some of its members online.

Club member Daniel Low and his children took part in the recording of the the traditional dance, which in Chinese culture is meant to bring good luck and fortune.

“I think it’s really important to keep the tradition alive,” said Low.

Don Mee Seafood Restaurant is trying to do the same — offering a Chinese New Year menu and streaming the lion dance virtually starting Feb. 1.

“It’s a difficult time and we’re doing our best to adjust with what’s going on,” said the restaurant manager Rick Yiau.

Similar to last year, Victoria councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe is encouraging the public to decorate their homes and wear red, which is known to be a lucky colour in China.

“Chinese New Year is about bringing people together and appreciating what you have and your ancestors,” she explained.

“We’re going to be seeing our family and friends a lot probably [through] Zoom, unless we can meet in small groups,” she continued.

Thornton-Joe also encourages everyone to support local Chinese businesses that usually thrive during this time of year.

“Many of the restaurants throughout the Capital Region have suffered during this time,” she said.

With the holiday just days away, she’s ready to officially say goodbye to 2021 — the year of the Ox.

“The year of the Ox is when there is struggles. It’s challenging,” she explained.

2022 marks the year of the tiger, which symbolizes strength, courage and driving out evil spirits.

“Every year is supposed to be a good year, but they’re saying you can expect sudden changes to the year, so hopefully restrictions being lifted!” Low said.

He said part of the Chinese New Year is ensuring everyone’s safety.

“Just do what needs to be done. Let the year come. May everyone have good luck, stay safe and prosperity,” he said.

Low, like many others in the community, is still looking forward to celebrating the Lunar New Year in other traditional ways, such as feasting and spending time with loved ones.

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Tahmina AzizTahmina Aziz

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