Although it officially kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 10, celebrations marking the Chinese New Year get underway this week in Calgary. The largest, the Year of the Snake Festival, is presented by the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre. The lion and dragon dancing (Sunday at noon) is sure to draw a crowd with its colourful costumes and eardrum-busting firecrackers. It takes place outside the west entrance of the cultural centre, but get there early for a good vantage point.
There will also be dance and vocal performances, a folk art demonstration, art exhibits, an indoor bazaar and greetings from the God of Fortune. Admission to the event, which runs 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, is free.
And Saturday offers another means to celebrate the Year of the Snake, as the U of C’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory hosts a celestial drive-in. Nic David is delivering the talk From Dunhang: the oldest Star Atlas. The atlas was discovered at the start of the 20th century in a cave on the Silk Road in China. Dated to 500 – 1000 CE, the document offers a window into not only astronomy, but the role of astrology in Chinese society.
The event is $10 per person or $20 per car to attend, and if the sky is clear, there will be telescopes to take in the heavens. (And since there is no moon, the observatory says viewing conditions for observing Jupiter and Orion will be “perfect.”) Dress warmly and bring your own flashlight. Gates are open from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. To get there, go west on Highway 22x from Macleod Trail, then south on Highway 22 for 2.4 kilometres.
But there are more New Year celebrations throughout the month, as well. The Sien Lok Society of Calgary is holdings its annual celebration on Friday, Feb. 8. Tickets, $88 each, are still available by calling 403-462-4292. If there are any left on Friday night, they will be available at the door. The dinner takes place at Regency Palace Seafood Restaurant beginning at 6 p.m. Dress is business or traditional Chinese.
The Hong Kong Canada Business Association hosts its annual Calgary New Year Gala later this month at Regency Palace Seafood Restaurant. Tickets for the Feb. 22 event are $108 for non-members; $88 for members. More than 500 people are expected at the party, which has a business focus. There will be a 10-course traditional Chinese dinner, a silent auction and a performance by Jason Hastie.
And Club 88 holds its celebration on Feb. 28 at the Central Grand Restaurant. Tickets for the business club’s event are $50 and include a traditional 10-course dinner.
Or, if you possess an adventurous streak (and are braver than me), check out these recipes at Food Network Canada to create your own Chinese New Year dinner. Kung hei fat choi!