Since 2010, LunarFest has evolved into a festival that invites communities to co-create, collaborate and build programs like no other place. This winter cities across Canada, including Vancouver, Mississauga, and Cortney are bound to make the Year of the Dog celebration bigger, better, and more fun.
The Lantern of the Blessings was inspired by a popular attraction in Pingxi, Taiwan where thousands of sky lanterns are launched to the sky by residents and tourists. For the first time, LunarFest partners with Oakridge Centre to reveal the world’s first Tunnel of the Blessings where 888 lanterns will be available to carry good wishes for visitors. “People are invited to pick a lucky lantern, make good wishes and have them ordained in the tunnel until Feb 25th,” Charlie Wu, the festival’s managing director, explained this new ritual. While at Oakridge, “The Perfect year of the Dog” exhibit will see crowds trying to rub good luck off from the 10 large golden dog sculptures.
The importance of the moon for the agricultural society in the old days gave the foundation of the Lunar New Year tradition. Lots of arts, folktales and lifestyles have all been inspired by the moon. “Moon Crawl” is a new program designed to continue our fascination with the moon. The concept is a supersized “ball pit” where participants have to search for the moon with the right breed of dog orbiting our universe. “Getting people to think bigger is part of the festival’s vision because we believe that is the only way to continue growing the tradition,” said Charlie Wu; “Getting youth to have fun learning heritage is also very important. We hope our 5-meter tall space husky can be the best ambassador to get people excited about Lunar New Year. Thanks to Vancouver School Board and Kids Fest, we also have over 300 school children in Vancouver who took part in building the lanterns, and we are expecting lots of families with kids come play Moon Crawl.”
In addition to all the visual arts, games and crafts, LunarFest also collaborated with Ballet Productions Canada Society and Coastal City Ballet for a new ballet production “The Butterfly Lovers.” Inspired by one of the four great Chinese folktales and the renowned violin concerto, internationally acclaimed and Vancouver’s own Joshua Beamish provides the brand-new choreography. “Most people know about Romeo and Juliet, they have to see its Chinese equivalent in the Butterfly Lovers…as love expressions between the East and the West are just amazingly different!” said Charlie Wu.
Also worth noting, more than seven cultural groups, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Mongolian, Chinese, Taiwanese and Slovak will share their celebrations for the Year of the Dog during the event at the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza. LunarFest stages events in Vancouver (2/8-25), Mississauga (2/18-19), and Cortney(3/4).
For more information on the event schedules and locations, please visit LunarFest.org. All events are free admission except the ballet performance.