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Gateway Theatre and Five Blessings Collective offer free, family-friendly audio play in time for winter solstice

solstice
Tiana Jung is among the artists performing in Operation Double Happiness, (Five Blessings Collective IG)

In East Asia, the winter solstice is a time of celebration. The Dongzhi Festival comes from the Chinese words dong and zhi, which translate into “winter” and “arrival” in English.

This auspicious event is observed around December 21 to 23 by residents of China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines, and now, Richmond, B.C.

In recognition of the Dongzhi Festival, Gateway Theatre (6500 Gilbert Road) and Five Blessings Collective are making available the final installment of the multilingual A Year of Blessings audio play series.

The family-friendly Operation Double Happiness tells the story of a family of Taiwanese Mandarin ducks living in different parts of Turtle Island. Identical twins Clara and Cici have been estranged since birth. However, their daughters are determined to unite the family for the winter solstice.

According to a Gateway Theatre news release, the cousins employ tactics inspired by 007 and The Incredibles.

Families traditionally come together during the Dongzhi Festival. Moreover, in rural areas, celebrants offer special meals for animals on the solstice as a sign of respect.

Local artists Nhi Do, Debi Wong, Tiana Jung, Angela Chu, Elaine Tsang, and Derek Chan perform in Operation Double Happiness. Listen to it for free by filling in a form on the Gateway Theatre website.

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Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.