Vancouver Mall celebrates Lunar New Year

Children, families and shoppers watched in delight as the troupe of lion dancers strolled around Vancouver Mall’s Forever 21 Court on Saturday. The event was just part of the mall’s Lunar New Year celebration.

The loud sound of drums and cymbals filled the courtyard, drawing shoppers from both levels of the building to watch the jubilation. The dancers, including a small lion held by two children, began their show with a traditional dance in the center of the courtyard. They then danced through the crowd, inviting children and adults to pet them for good luck. The initiates quietly fed the lions silver and red envelopes.

“It was great to see a showcase of the Asian Lunar New Year celebration,” said Lily Wong, stressing the importance of being able to expose children to the event and the different cultures in the community. The boys who accompanied him had never seen the lion dance.

“It’s great to know that in a small town we can have that here,” Wong said.

“It was a great cultural exhibit, and we really enjoyed it,” Cherelle Jackson said. “Kids need to learn about other cultures, and I’m so glad we brought our kids here for that.”

Jackson’s daughter was one of many children impressed with the show.

“It was really loud but really, really fun,” said 9-year-old Aolagi Jackson, who had never attended the dance before.

“It was so amazing,” Aiyah Mateo said. She and her sister Cadence were equally stunned by the performance.

The courtyard was marked with headstones, each listing one of the 12 signs of the zodiac, along with the birth years and characteristics associated with the signs.

“We’re working on the best way to celebrate and connect with communities as Vancouver becomes more and more diverse,” said Amy Tanska, Vancouver Mall’s director of marketing.

“Dancing is very specific for prosperity and good fortune, so we wish that for all of our shoppers, retailers, employees and guests at Vancouver Mall today,” Tanska added.

“The lion brings good luck to the mall here,” said Man Mai, a member of the White Lotus dance troupe. “Who caresses the lion, we bring him luck.”

The drum, Mai says, brings the lion to life, while the drum and cymbals are played loudly to scare away evil spirits. Lion and dragon dances, which White Lotus performs throughout the region, bring good luck for the Lunar New Year celebration.

But while the dancing dragon is inhabited by eight to ten people, the lion is only inhabited by two.

As part of the mall’s Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday, red envelopes – each containing a giveaway ranging from a $2 bill to a $100 retailer gift card – were handed out to members of the MyPerks program from the shopping center.

The distribution of lucky red envelopes during the Lunar New Year is a tradition in East Asian cultures. Gifts are historically given to family members and friends.

Luck is not actually associated with the money inside, but with the red envelopes themselves – with red symbolizing good luck and prosperity in Chinese and other East Asian cultures.

Tanska said the mall is happy to continue this traditional giveaway, putting its own brand on it with $2 bills.

As the afternoon progressed, a painting demo, sculpting demo, and calligraphy-printed bookmarks were all offered to mall members in the building’s MyPerks lounge.

This was the second year that the Vancouver Mall held its Lunar New Year celebration.

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