Skip to content

Lunar New Year: Richmond’s 25-year-old countdown tradition goes virtual for 1st time

Aberdeen has cancelled all of its in-person, annual Lunar New Year events due to COVID-19
Aberdeen Centre Lunar New Year
A Lunar New Year display at Aberdeen Centre in Richmond.

Gathering together for Aberdeen Centre’s traditional Lunar New Year countdown won’t be an option this year. Rather, a virtual show will be taking its place.

Every year, visitors and community members flood the mall’s hallways and central atrium to shop at the flower and gift fair, take photos of the decorations, watch high-calibre performances and participate in the annual New Year’s Eve countdown at Aberdeen Centre – the Lower Mainland’s largest Asian mall.

However, due to ongoing pandemic restrictions, Aberdeen will be cancelling all of their annual in-person events for the first time since the original Aberdeen Centre started the program in the 1990s.

Regardless, a pre-recorded countdown program will include a line-up of lion dance performances, fortune tellers and singers from Asia. The show airing on Fairchild TV1 will start at 10:50 p.m. on Feb. 11.

Tiffany Ho, senior vice-president and senior general manager of Fairchild Developments, which operates the mall, said the year of the Ox will be quiet at Aberdeen, but a change in program format won’t undermine the meaning of the Lunar New Year.

“Lunar New Year is a time to gather together and celebrate, but this year we will have to stay safe and celebrate at a distance,” said Ho, adding that Aberdeen Centre’s live countdown program has been running for over 25 years.

“It’s unfortunate to see our long-standing tradition change this year, but we are staying positive because everyone’s health is our priority, and flattening the curve is everyone’s responsibility.”

The virtual show, Ho added, will include everything an in-person celebration would have and decorations are still up at the mall for those who wish to take photos.

Ho told the Richmond News that the Fairchild TV1 channel – which streams the live Lunar New Year countdown every year – normally, requires a subscription but it will be free for the whole month of February for anyone with cable TV.

She said it wouldn’t be fair for community members to be excluded in a celebration that is meant for families and friends to gather and reconnect.

“I’m hoping to see everyone and celebrate together again in 2022, but for now everyone needs to stay safe and respect the Provincial Health Authority’s orders.”

Aberdeen Centre’s Lunar New Year countdown program will start at 10:50 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11 until 12:05 a.m. on the Fairchild TV1 channel.