New Year’s comes in many forms in super-diverse Metro Vancouver

February 14, 2015

When it comes to New Year celebrations, there are a million stories in super-diverse Metro Vancouver.

There are different Lunar New Year stories from the wide range of Metro residents with roots in Asia, especially those linked to mainland China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

And there are more New Year’s traditions being celebrated in Metro that are rooted in Europe, the Middle East and South America, which occur at different times of the year based on the solar calendar.

This eclectic assortment of New Year’s stories was recently on display in the English-as-asecond-language class at MOSAIC’s Brentwood Learning Centre in Burnaby, which is taught by Shaya Jamshidi, who is of Iranian origin.

The roughly 15 adult ESL students, about half of whom were ethnic Chinese, had many tales to tell about the Lunar New Year festival that begins on Feb. 19. Metro Vancouver has more than 400,000 ethnic Chinese and not all of their anecdotes about Lunar New Year are rosy.

Guiming Lo spoke about the custom of giving money to not only his children, but his mother and father at Lunar New Year — even though they don’t need it.

“Children must give to their parents. I give to them to let them be happy. I want them to be proud of their son,” said Lo, who normally flies home to mainland China for Lunar New Year.

The class oohed and aahed when Lo, who has a PhD from China in engineering, said that on some Lunar New Years he has given his parents “10,000.”

After class, members figured out Lo was talking about Chinese currency, known as yuan, they laughed. But they still remained impressed when they calculated 10,000 yuan was worth about $2,000 Cdn.

By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun | Link to Article