B.C. neighbourhood transforms itself to aid toddler’s celebration of Chinese New Year

February 1, 2021

By Globe and Mail |

Elaine Su’s neighbourhood near Vancouver enchants her two-year-old with houses decorated for Halloween and Christmas.

Most of her neighbours are white, but January presents a chance to introduce little Ellis to the festivities of Lunar New Year, from his own Chinese culture. But this year, there can be no loud dragon dances, nor gathering to eat among friends and neighbours.

Ms. Su realized all she could do to celebrate was walk with Ellis to look at the Chinese decorations traditionally hung in doorways: red lanterns, banners and diamond-shape red posters with the Chinese character “Fu,” representing good fortune or happiness. But the Sapperton neighbourhood, in suburban New Westminster, isn’t Chinatown and Ms. Su needed some help.

“[Lunar New Year] would be a different kind of celebration for him because it would be something that he didn’t see reflected in the world around him, unlike Christmas and Halloween,” Ms. Su said.

She came up with this “crazy thought” by asking her neighbours to put up decorations to create some festive cheer. In a letter, she wrote: “I would love for him to feel like he is not alone in his celebrating and that others are excited about his culture too.”

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