Dancers and singers helped Red Deerians ring in the Chinese New Year.
Hundreds welcomed the Year of the Earth Pig at a celebration at Festival Hall Saturday.
Lawrence Lee, of the Red Deer and District Chinese Community Society, said this is one of the premier events of the year.
“In one week we sold out of 300 tickets, which was phenomenal,” said Lee, who is also a Red Deer city councillor. The Chinese New Year is “one of the most well-known events throughout the western world. I think almost every country celebrates it, which is coming up on Feb. 5.”
Lee said anyone can celebrate the event, regardless of their cultural background.
“We’ve been looking forward to having a good time with families and friends,” he said. “The highlight for us … is to make Red Deer more aware of the many different faces of culture in the city.”
The Red Deer and District Chinese Community Society has 260 members and has been around since the mid-1960s.
Lee said the entertainment at this year’s event improved.
“We’ve got 12 performances, with everything from fashion to singing groups to Qigong and Tai Chi (martial arts). There’s a Mongolian dance, some opera singing, choir singing, Chinese instrumental – it’s a really fun evening,” he said.
Martial arts dancers from Calgary performed a lion dance at the event as well.
The dancers “come in from three different directions in the building, greet the guests and set the stage for a great evening,” said Lee. “There are lots of Chinese gongs, drums and things to ward off the evil spirits.”
The pig is the last sign of the zodiac in the 12-year Chinese astrological cycle.
“It’s a tribute to people who are born in this year,” Lee said. “It would represent a more compassionate, calmer nature and that sort of thing.”
The pig is associated with calmness, wealth has a sense of responsibility and finishes tasks properly and carefully. Earth Pig personality traits lean towards high sociability and maintaining good interpersonal relationships.