There was no way to muzzle Red Deerians from ringing in the Year of the Dog.
Hundreds filled Festival Hall Saturday for the Red Deer and District Chinese Community Society’s (RDDCCS) annual Chinese New Year Banquet.
This is the society’s premier event every year, said Choon-Lee Chai, RDDCCS president.
“The New Year is the biggest event in China,” Chai said. “It’s like the western countries’ Christmas and New Year’s.”
The event is for the entire Chinese community in Red Deer, Chai said. This includes people from Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Malaysia, where Chai is from.
“This is an important event because they can’t be at home, but they can still have something to celebrate the biggest day of the year. It means a lot to us to give people that,” said Chai.
The RDDCCS hasn’t hosted a big Chinese New Year event like this in about six years, Chai added.
“There are years we feel we may not have enough manpower to do a big event like this so we do something simpler,” he said.
This year’s celebration, which was organized all by volunteers, was a big success, said Chai.
Ming Jiao, RDDCCS past president, said Chinese people love the Year of the Dog because the dog represents reliability, loyalty, and friendliness.
“We really like having a peaceful and stable year. That’s the reason we like the Year of the Dog very much,” Jiao said.
Jiao said there are many reasons to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
“We try to keep all Chinese (people) together, as well as trying to welcome people from different groups so we can celebrate together and to show our culture to other people and our younger generation.
“Most of our kids don’t know about Chinese New Year, and if we don’t have this kind of celebration, they just don’t have the (excited) feeling,” Jiao said.
The event is “good for cultural development” in Red Deer, Jiao added.