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Chinese New Year Festival – Chan Culture Open House

Richmond - On Saturday, February 21st, Dharma Drum Vancouver Center (DDVC) hosted the inaugural Chinese New Year Festival – Chan Culture Open House and welcomed everyone to come and celebrate the most important Chinese holiday. The entire event was carried out in English. It was hoped that Canadians from diverse backgrounds would take advantage of this opportunity to learn about Chinese culture and Chan teachings and be able to incorporate the teachings into their everyday life.

It was a sunny and beautiful day and guests started to arrive early in the morning. The festival kicked off at ten o’clock in the morning and the foyer at the Center was already crowded. The Director of DDVC, Venerable Chang Wu, gave the opening statement and then a series of fun and exciting activities and performances began and lasted for the entire day. Overall, close to 500 guests and over 80 staff and volunteers participated in the event. Aside from the traditional lion’s dance, New Year’s foods tasting, Chan tea ceremony, choir and drumming performances, there were also meditation and Chinese crafts workshops.

Various forms of meditation such as sitting, eight-forms moving, seated yoga and walking meditation were introduced and demonstrated in the Chan Hall. Live workshops and hands-on activities including writing traditional Chinese New Year blessings and other calligraphy took place at other locations within the centre. Other festive activities that were suitable for all age groups included lucky bracelet and loom band making. The festival was punctuated by New Year’s food tasting at noon and the lunch was shortly followed by lion dances which were performed by both adults and children. These “baby lions” were played by the children of DDVC’s volunteers and their performance further added to the festive spirit of the celebration. The sound track of this celebration was provided by a choir and traditional Chinese musical instruments. In the Chan Hall there was the Chan tea ceremony where people experienced relaxation through tea tasting. The event came to a conclusion at 3:10 p.m. but the festive spirit carried on as guests mingled with the staff and each other while taking part in the vibrant drumming workshops.

The event also garnered attention from local newspapers and visits from representatives of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and other religious organizations. There were also nearly 30 members of the Lower Mainland Down Syndrome Society who enjoyed their stay, made friends and became acquainted with DDVC.

At the closing of the event, everyone gathered together in the Chan Hall and prayed for good health, prosperity, peace and joy of all beings. Through everyone’s blessing, it was hoped that the goodness generated by this event could give rise to greater peace and harmony in the world.

(By Dharma Drum Vancouver Center)

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