CIBC LunarFest 2013 visits the jungle for Year of the Snake

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Following the success of the “Lantern Forest” and “ Lantern Aquarium” in previous years, CIBC LunarFest 2013 will stage its “Lantern Jungle” on the north plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery from February 15 to 17. The free, three-day event celebrates the start of the Lunar New Year and welcomes the Year of the Snake.

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“The snake is clever, responsive, intelligent, calm, and cool,” Charlie Wu, managing director of the Asian Canadian Special Events Association, which organizes LunarFest in Vancouver, said at a news conference today (January 22). “The snake is also known as ‘little dragon’.”

Some of the highlights of the “Lantern Jungle” will include snake lanterns made by children during the 2012 Vancouver International Children’s Festival; lion dancers representing China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and India; and trivia and games for families.

“Because it’s the year of the snake, and the snake has perfect vision, we actually have a game that kids can play to see how good their vision is,” Wu said. “There is also a fortune teller. Last year, it was very popular so we’re expanding that element a bit to allow you to get a real fortune-telling experience. If you want to know what the year has in store for you, make sure you visit the fortune teller.”

New to this year’s festival is a culinary component called Dumpling Fest, which will showcase dumplings from various Asian countries.

“Asian people eat food with a particular significance to it. For example, celery stuffing has the same pronunciation as [the word] ‘diligent',” Wu said.  “It encourages you to be more diligent and more proactive in your life.”

Another example is fish dumpling, which Wu said carries the meaning of “surplus”. People with financial investments may want to eat beef-stuffed dumplings, which signify bullish—or rising—investments.

At the core of CIBC LunarFest is a celebration of the arts, and this year, pieces by Taiwanese visual artists Bruce Pai and Ching-Chan Lin will be featured. The entertainment lineup will be headlined by Eastern Legends, a six-person Taiwanese band that fuses orchestral music played on traditional Chinese string instruments with explosive pop-rock. Also on the main stage are drumming by Darma Drum Mountain’s Vancouver chapter and Korean-folk dance performances.

“This event brings together both the cultural and historical components of LunarFest with artistic contemporary components,” city councillor Raymond Louie said at the news conference. “This is part of the community building that we like to foster in our city.”

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