February on the local Chinese calendar marks the biggest holiday of the year! It’s Lunar New Year, and 2020 is the Year of the Rat. There are parades, festivities and events all over Vancouver from the streets of East Van and Granville Island to downtown Vancouver, and, of course, Richmond. And let’s not the forget the malls. Metropolis at Metrotown has a dazzling lantern display, while Oakridge and Pacific Centre are also decked to the nines with red lanterns. There will also be live entertainment, craft-making, treats, and even red envelopes!
Lunar New Year: 16 FREE Events, Parades and Festivities
Here are just a few of the family-friendly festivities happening in Metro Vancouver over the next three weeks.
Lunar New Year at Metropolis at Metrotown
January 24 — February 9 2020 Burnaby
Get ready to snap a few pics of family and friends! This Instagram-worthy lantern display at the Grand Court at Metrotown at Metropolis features hundreds of lanterns, and that’s not all! Metropolis is hosting kid-friendlu Chinese calligraphy, and lantern making, traditional Chinese dance performances and more.
Chinese New Year at Aberdeen Square
January 11-18 2020
Richmond’s Aberdeen Square will be chock-full of Lunar New year celebrations from countdowns and live entertainment to a lion and golden lion dance. Festivities includes dances, music, dance, fortune telling, giveaways and even a “surprise” visit by the Chinese God of Fortune who will also be available for photo ops!
Lunar New Year at Oakridge Centre
January 16 – February 8 2020 Vancouver
Oakridge Centre celebrates the Taiwanese, South Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese cultures this Lunar New Year. Come see the “Mighty 6” Lion Dance, take part in the Lunar New Year Party, celebrate Year of the Rat, or watch their performance showcase of four Asian communities.
Coastal Lunar Lanterns
January 18 – February 9 2020 downtown Vancouver
The eight giant Coastal Lunar Lanterns at Jack Poole Plaza brings together local indigenous artists for a unique Very Vancouver sight. With the backdrop scenery of the beautiful mountains and waters, Vancouver celebrates the Lunar New Year like no other!
Lunar New Year at Wesbrook Village
Saturday January 25 2020 Vancouver
Head up to Wesbrook Village on Saturday and help ward off any evil spirits at the annual Lion Dance. Follow that up with some festive craft-making at the community centre.
The Chinatown New Year’s Parade
Sunday, January 26 2020 Vancouver
If you’re looking for a big, historic event, head downtown on Sunday to The Chinatown New Year’s Parade featuring over 4,000 performers and drawing almost 100,000 spectators along the route. It will be a ton of fun with lots of colour, music and food, but bear in mind that it’s also loud and crowded so make sure you little ones are up for it!
International Village in Chinatown
Sunday January 26 2020 downtown Vancouver
This Chinatown mall will be filled with traditional Chinese spring festivities and rituals over three days, with Chinese New Year items, souvenirs, culinary delights and gift wares, live stage performances and lucky draws. There will be a ceremonial opening and lion dance, attended by officials from three levels government, consulates, and local celebrities. The event caps on the last day with the Chinatown New Year’s Parade.
Granville Island Lion Dance
Sunday January 26 2020 Vancouver
Celebrate the Lunar New Year with a traditional Lion Dance parade. Follow the lion dancers as they travel to the Net Loft, Creekhouse and Railspur Alley. Take in sugar painting showcase where the artist uses a traditional Chinese form of folk art using hot, liquid sugar to create two or three dimensional figures.
Soar Over Taiwan at FlyOver Canada
January 16 – February 16, 2020 Vancouver
During this special feature, you’ll soar over some of the island nation’s most iconic sites from downtown Vancouver through the water at Green Island, above the famous Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival, past tea farms and into the heart of bustling cities. Starts with a unique Lunar New Year themed pre-show celebration before the film.
CF Richmond Centre & CF Pacific Centre Lunar New Year Celebration
January 26 (Richmond) & January 31 2020 (Vancouver)
If you’re downtown shopping, check out the CF Pacific Centre Mall for Lunar New Year celebrations in the Rotunda. Enjoy a Lion Dance, eye-dotting Ceremony, God of Fortune and our iconic red lanterns decorated throughout the mall to signify prosperity for the year ahead.
Telus Lunar Fest at the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza
January 25 & 26 2020 Vancouver
This free two-day festival is steeped in lunar traditions, features culinary delicacies, crafts, traditional lunar performances, art installations and more. Celebrate the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Rat in downtown Vancouver! Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza for fun games, great food, and immerse yourself in cultures from around the world! Explore the different food cultures as a little rat in “Kitchen Runners”, and get your fortune told for the year.
Year of the Rat Temple Fair
Sunday January 26 2020 downtown Vancouver
This annual temple fair celebration at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden returns to usher in the Year of the Rat. Come after the Parade with friends and family, and enjoy traditional crafts and activities, live music performances, tea tastings, a calligraphy contest, and more.
Chinese New Year Flower & Gift Fair at Aberdeen Centre
January 18-26 2020 Richmond
Stock up on Chinese New Year essentials, including decorations, food, gifts, apparel, accessories, and check out the free cultural shows and displays as well as their famous Golden Dragon and Lion Dance.
Burnaby Heights Lunar New Year
Saturday Feb 1, 2020 Burnaby
Burnaby Heights celebrates the Year of the Rat with merchants and shoppers. Lion dancers will perform the traditional blessing ceremony at participating Heights merchants along Hastings Street (between Boundary Road and Gamma Avenue) to spread good fortune.
Lunar New Year at Lonsdale Market
Saturday February 1 2020 North Vancouver
Celebrate the Year of the Rat at the Market with a variety of fun activities including Jessica Yue, a traditional fan dancer, Lion dancers, a Fortune God and balloon twisters.
Lunar New Year at the International Buddhist Temple
Monday February 3 2020 Richmond
Looking for a culturally interesting outing? Head to the Buddhist Temple in Richmond on Feb 3 in the evening for Lunar New Year’s Eve. Although the celebrations go all day, nighttime is when they really shine.
Harriet Fancott is the Editor and Social Media Manager for Vancouver Mom. She has over 20 years experience in the arts, tech and mom-based blogging arenas. She lives in East Vancouver with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring all that Vancouver has to offer from festivals and events to playgrounds and beaches to sushi and ice cream (although not together).