Chinese New Year Celebration in Canada

The Chinese have a long history in Canada, and today are the third largest ethnic group in the country, behind the English and French. Chinese Canadians—nearly 1.5 million strong—are a vibrant community reflects both old and new social and cultural traditions and values. In 1947, Canadian immigration policy changed, opening up the country once again to Chinese immigrants. Since then many Chinese families and individuals have emigrated from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, as well as from elsewhere around the globe. Many of these immigrants came to Canada with strong cultural backgrounds. They keep their Chinese traditions of celebrating different festivals and memorial dates throughout the year.

Chinese New Year is the most important and popular celebration among the others. It also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year which marks the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year is a vibrant and festive occasion in Canada as well as the rest of the world. This event continues for 15 days, often including a variety of festivities such as street parades, festivals featuring dancing, traditional Chinese costumes, firework displays, food stalls, and artisan crafts. Since the first wave of Chinese, Chinese Canadian created an alternate cultural norms for celebrating New Year Celebration in Canada. They cater their household celebrations to their non-Chinese friends and communities.

According to James Carey’s ritual view of communication, communication is the construction of a symbolic reality that represents, maintains, adapts and shares the beliefs of a society in time. Cultural celebrations are important ritual signifiers. They give the communicate a sense of belonging, but can also serve as sites of inquiry. They can help to answer significant questions about histories, communities, and self-identity. It is an important socializing force, not only for newcomers (eg: international students in Canada), but also for the next generation. Through their participation in cultural celebrations, community members learn to participate in the construction and the consumption of their culture, especially for the newcomers to learn social expectations in the local regions. Cultural celebrations are the ritualized interruptions in the continuum of daily life which remind us who we are, where we came from and where we are going.

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