As you've probably heard, last Thursday marked the beginning of a new year in the Chinese calendar. Walking down Hastings near Nanaimo today, I chanced upon a miniature version of the parade planned for tomorrow through Chinatown and the DTES. Billed as Chinatown's signature event, the Chinese New Year Parade began in 1974 and has been organized by the Chinese Benevolent Association since 1979. This year's parade route is a little over a kilometre, beginning at noon tomorrow, February 6, at the Millennium Gate on Pender.
I managed to finagle my way into the parade, (in a capacity which I will not reveal here!), along with my friend who is visiting from Calgary for the weekend. Aside from Little League opening day festivities in my younger days, I've never marched in a parade. Said friend hasn't been in one since a Santa Claus parade in Regina circa 1989. You can imagine our collective excitement.
The parade is just one aspect of the planned celebrations; there is also a free festival with family activities, and a post-parade ticketed banquet at the Floata restaurant. It should be a great time, as long we manage not to celebrate too hard tonight in our planned rockout downtown!