Beairsto Elementary celebrated the Chinese New Year with a Dragon Parade. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

Kelowna to host its own Spring Lantern Festival

The annual event is in its ninth season

The Okanagan Chinese Canadian Association expects celebrations for the year of the pig to bring squeals of glee to its participants.

The ninth annual Spring Lantern Festival is usually held at the end of 16 days of celebration of the Chinese New Year, said Hua Meng, with the OCCA. The lantern festival is a day where people hang colourful lanterns, eat rice cake and enjoy a day with their families.

Often celebrated with vibrant colours and loud sounds like bell ringing and firecrackers, traditional lion dances or parades are also popular in many communities.

The Chinese New Year kicked off Feb. 5. The OCCA’s celebrations will be held Feb. 9 at Parkinson Recreation Centre, from 6 to 9 p.m.

RELATED: Asia welcomes Year of the Pig with banquets, temple visits

Meng said the event is always held on a Saturday in February, and this year the organization didn’t want to interfere with Taste of Home, which was held Feb. 2.

Each Zodiac sign carries a symbol of good luck, and the pig represents prosperity in the agriculture, Meng said. It’s something a growing number of Kelowna residents will be familiar with.

The Chinese community in the Okanagan is growing with more immigrants are moving from the Lower Mainland because of job opportunities here. It’s made the lantern festival more exciting.

The celebration that started nine years ago in Kelowna has gradually grown from 100 to around 400 people, Meng said. Around 400 people are also registered as part of the OCCA.

If you were born in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971 1983, 1995 or 2007, you fall under the Chinese zodiac sign of the pig. Pigs are said to be most compatible with tigers rabbits and goats. They’re least compatible with snakes and monkeys. The pig’s lucky numbers are two, five and eight, according to the Chinese New Year website.

Dinner tickets cost $20 per person for the Kelowna festival, $12 per child between five-12 and is free for children under five when their parents buy tickets. Visit www.occabc.ca for ticket information.

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