Happy Chinese New Year!

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Today marks the start of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar.

To celebrate volunteers with the Chinese community in Victoria donated funds, and their time, to serve up a traditional meal for patrons of Our Place.

Among the volunteers was Victoria Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe.

" Well of course today is the start of our lunar New Year, so we're starting the year of the pig. And of the Chinese community, you know, Chinese New Years is all about eating, it's all about being with family. And here we're with the family members of Our Place serving a Chinese meal."

In the Chinese calendar -- it's the year of the pig -- a symbol of luck, and overall good fortune.

Among the volunteers was Victoria Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe who tells us everything on the menu has meaning:

" Of course chow mein is very important because it represents long life. And it's a vegetarian chow mein because serving a vegetarian dish is very important in Chinese culture, especially at you first meal of the year. White rice because it shoes that you never go hungry, because there's an abundance of grains of rice, because we don't want anyone to go hungry.
Barbequed pork because of course the red symbolizes good luck, and of course the substance of meat and giving you strength. And then miniature spring rolls just because everyone loves spring rolls, and of course fortune cookies to end your meal."

As part of the celebrations the Chinese community holds an annual "Lion Dance." The public is invited to come to Chinatown Sunday at noon to take in the spectacle.

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