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February 17 will be the second year members of St. David’s, Tsawwassen have hosted a Lunar New Year Luncheon marking one of the world’s most celebrated holidays. Ranging from January 21 to February 20, Chinese New Year 2019 occurs on February 5 and is the Year of the Pig.

Gong hei fat choy (Happy New Year in Cantonese) or gong xi fa cai (Prosperous New Year in Mandarin Chinese) may be heard in the parish hall but it is the visual impact of China’s traditional bright-red holiday decorations that will capture the imagination. It is a colour much loved by the Chinese in general as it signifies happiness and good fortune.

Sara Caintar, Claudia Niu, and Jenifer Zhu are convening the luncheon to welcome parishioners and the surrounding community to a microcosm version of an event that is likewise known as the Spring Festival.

The (chunjie) Spring Festival has more than 4000 years of history and is the longest holiday of the year. Although still very wintery, it marks the end of the coldest days and welcomes spring: the planting and harvests, new beginnings and fresh starts.

No Chinese celebratory buffet table would be complete without Xiaocong Wu’s steaming-hot Jiaozi dumplings (crescent-shaped dough filled with minced meat and finely chopped vegetables), and a variety of appetizers, salads and bean soups prepared by a team of kitchen volunteers.

For those wishing to gain new skills, Claudia Niu will offer hands-on instruction in calligraphy – one of the most important ancient Chinese art forms – along with direction in folk art paper-cutting and crafted lanterns.

This year’s Lunar New Year celebration of the Pig begins February 5 and ends February 20. The Solar New Year begins February 4 and ends February 21. One is linked to phases of the moon (lunar) and the other is based on the earth’s movement around the sun (solar).  

Universal celebration of New Year’s Eve may be long past, but at St. David’s, in February, parishioners will experience another new year as observed in another culture. For more information go to


  • Claudia Niu gives Helen Matson head start writing ‘Good Fortune’ in Mandarin Chinese. Calligraphy is one of art forms offered at Lunar New Year Luncheon, Feb 17.
  • Helen Matson, happy with result of first attempt at Chinese calligraphy, wins approval of Claudia Niu who will demonstrate ancient art at parish event February 17.

Photos: Elizabeth Murray