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Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Society plans eight-course fundraising banquet to welcome Lunar New Year

Bánh tày
Bánh tày is commonly placed at family altars during Tết, which begins in Vietnam with the Lunar New Year. Photo by Viethavvh.

Much of East Asia and Southeast Asia will celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Rabbit on January 22. People born in this year are known for their diplomatic skills and avoiding conflict.

But Vietnam is an outlier in Southeast Asia, ringing in the Year of the Cat on Lunar New Year.

“Those born in the Year of the Cat are often admired for their impeccable public image and desire to be loved and have many friends,” thechinesezodiac.org reports.

In addition, they have a reputation for bouncing back from difficulty and always landing on their feet.

On January 27, the Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Society will host a fundraising gala to bring in the Year of the Rabbit and the Year of the Cat at the Pink Pearl Restaurant (1132 East Hastings Street, Vancouver). Tickets are available here.

According to Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Society senior manager Anna Nguyen, this inaugural intercultural event will showcase the splendour of Southeast Asian arts and heritage.

“It includes an eight-course dinner banquet, DJ dance, and will feature notable local Southeast Asian performing artists,” Nguyen told Pancouver. “Engaging and entertaining Lunar New Year games and special prizes will be offered throughout the program.”

All proceeds will go toward operational expenses, program facilitation, creating spaces for emerging Southeast Asian artists, and the preservation of Southeast Asian heritage.

Beelurb photo
This banner stating “Chúc Mừng Năm Mới” can be translated into “Best Wishes for the New Year”. Photo by Beelurb.

Lunar New Year kicks off Tết

So why is the cat not in the Chinese zodiac? Legend has it that the rat tricked his arch-rival cat into missing a banquet with the Jade Emperor.

Moreover, some believe that the rat pushed the cat into a river, where the animal drowned.

Despite this, the cat remains in the Vietnamese zodiac, taking the place of the rabbit.

Lunar New Year in Vietnam kicks off the six-day festival of Tết. That’s when Vietnamese people reconnect with families and sometimes visit the graves of ancestors. Furthermore, the third day of Tết is a day of respect for teachers.

Meanwhile, Malaysia and Singapore celebrate Chinese New Year with national holidays on January 22 and 23. In Indonesia, it’s a national holiday called Imlek.

However, in Cambodia, Laos, and the Philippines, workers do not get the day off on Lunar New Year. And in Thailand, “Chinese New Year” is only observed in Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, and Satun provinces.

Charlie Smith is the editor of Pancouver. Follow him on Twitter @charliesmithvcr. Follow Pancouver on Twitter @PancouverMedia.

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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.