The Red Deer and District Chinese Community Society hosted a Year of the Rat new year’s celebration at Festival Hall Saturday evening. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

WATCH: Red Deerians welcome the Year of the Rat

Red Deerians have officially welcomed the Year of the Rat.

A buffet dinner, a lion dance and musical performances helped nearly 300 people ring in the Chinese New Year during a celebration, presented by the Red Deer and District Chinese Community Society, at Festival Hall Saturday evening.

“It means a lot to have so many people come out. This is one of the longest running cultural events that Red Deer has,” said Lawrence Lee, a city councillor and one of the event organizers.

Lee added that he was happy with Saturday’s turnout considering the struggling economy.

The rat, the first of 12 Chinese zodiac signs, is believed to be a clever, quick thinker. People born this year are thought to be industrious, thrifty, diligent and positive.

Lee said the rat was the winner of “The Great Race,” which was the origin of the Chinese zodiac.

“The emperor declared whoever gets there first is the first zodiac. The rat rode on the back of the ox and before the finish line, jumped off the the ox and ran across the finish line.”

While Red Deerians are celebrating the Chinese New Year in Canada, Lee said his heart goes out to those in China who are facing negative experiences due to the coronavirus.

“We know here in Red Deer we haven’t been impacted by it,” said Lee.

“I think it’s on the minds of all the Chinese people here for sure. Our thoughts are definitely with all those overseas and those affected.”

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The Red Deer and District Chinese Community Society hosted a Year of the Rat new year’s celebration at Festival Hall Saturday evening. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

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