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Greater Victoria celebrating Chinese New Year

With Chinese New Year’s arrival on Thursday, Charlayne Thornton-Joe may already have a fresh list of New Year’s resolutions at the ready.

“I always joke, whatever resolutions I broke after Jan. 1, I can start over and make them again,” said the Victoria city councillor, who is also an active volunteer in Victoria’s Chinese community.

With Chinese New Year having arrived Feb. 3, she says there may be much to look forward to in the year of the rabbit.

“A lot of us are happy to be leaving the tiger year,” Thornton-Joe said.

Gone will be a fast-moving, dramatic and volatile year, replaced by a year of calm and peace – qualities associated with the rabbit symbol, one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac based on the lunar calendar.

“It’s about keeping the peace. It’s the calm after a stormy year,” Thornton-Joe said.

In China, the upcoming year is actually being heralded as that of the golden rabbit, a colour associated with wealth, prosperity and a large dose of luck. Coupled with the rabbit’s serenity, this year “will be a time for you to catch your breath,” said Ying Sun, Mandarin language instructor at Camosun College.

For some of the 30,000 in the Greater Victoria Chinese community, their luck won’t be left up to chance. In addition to embracing lucky red and gold colours, it seems a long life, wealth and good fortune can also come from edible delights such as noodles and oranges, and fish served whole and eaten from head to tail.

“It means the good year will last from the beginning to the end of the year,” said Kileasa Wong, principal of the Chinese Public School.

Depending on how traditional and superstitious someone is, they may not want to use a broom or wash their hair on New Year’s Day for fear of sweeping or washing out their good luck.

For most, New Year’s is a time to gather with family, in addition to ringing in a new beginning.

Chinese New Year events

• Feb. 6: Annual lion dance, kung fu and tai chi demonstrations, traditional Chinese dancing, dragon performances and Chinese tea ceremonies on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. near the Gate of Harmonious Interest in the 500-block of Fisgard Street.

• Feb. 20: The Chinese Culture Club of Victoria hosts a buffet Chinese dinner, performances and a DJ’d dance at 7 p.m. at the Red Lion Inn, 3366 Douglas St. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children 12 and under, and are available by calling 250-882-8861 or 250-857-9288.