Street celebration aims to strengthen Richmond community bonds

An annual celebration of Chinese New Year, organized by a group of local residents, will return to Richmond-Brighouse Skytrain Station on Feb. 3, where free food, gifts and performances will be provided.

“The community is not very harmonious right now. People often refer to Chinese people as selfish, evading tax, money laundering...I’m very concerned because that’s not what all Chinese people are like,” said Linda Zhang, a Richmond resident and one of the event organizers.

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“We hope through this event, people of different cultures and ethnicities can come together and understand each other better, as well as promoting the Canadian values of giving and kindness.” 

Xinman Li, a Grade 11 student at the Steveston London Secondary School, is the co-chair of the event. She told the Richmond News around 200 volunteers are expected to help out at the street event.

“We will be giving out free food such as dumplings, spring rolls, fried rice and noodles as well as doughnuts, bread and pizza, to passersby,” said Li.

“And there will be live singing, dancing and Chinese traditional instrument performances, to create a festive atmosphere.”

Chinese New Year
Steveston London secondary student Xinman Li is the co-chair of the Chinese New Year street celebration. Daisy Xiong photo

As a Chinese New Year custom, local calligraphers will write spring festival couplets on the spot with good messages and give them out for free.

Li added that the event this year will invite people from the nursing community to do some health examinations such as blood pressure tests, and U bicycle company will give free day passes.

“We are still reaching out to more local groups to join us,” she said.

It will be the third time this annual event takes place in Richmond. Zhang said her vision is one day, this Chinese New Year celebration will become a major event like the Vaisakhi Parade in Vancouver.

Li, who moved to Richmond from China five years ago, said she has noticed more and more people celebrating the Chinese New Year over the past few years.

“There are Chinese character calligraphies written on red papers on the poster wall in my school, and there are more schoolmates wearing red clothes during the festival, which is a Chinese custom,” she said.

“Just like we celebrate Christmas, people from other cultures are also welcome to celebrate our festival together, in Canada where different cultures are compatible,” she said.

The street celebration will kick off at 2 p.m. on Feb. 3 at Richmond-Brighouse Skytrain Station.

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