August 10, 2020

By MARIANA C. MORALES

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

This New Year’s greeting, meant to wish others good fortune and prosperity, is always heard at Chinese New Year celebrations. One of the most important Chinese holidays that is celebrated everywhere, it features 15 days of feasts, traditional foods and traditions. This year marks the year of the dragon which is considered the luckiest year in the Chinese Zodiac.

On Jan. 28, there was a Chinese New Year Gala held at RIM Park in Waterloo. It was presented by the Central Ontario Chinese Cultural Centre (COCCC) and was a celebration with entertainment.

Attendees were able to eat a buffet-style dinner with food sponsors from Manchu Wok, King Wok, Hong Kong Restaurant and many more restaurants throughout the city.

In addition to celebrations in the city, some people such as Florence Chou have their own celebration at home. “I have decorations in my dining room for the Chinese New Year.”

According to the website ChineseZodiac.com, the dragon sign represents character traits such as dominance and ambition. In the legend, there were 12 animals that appeared before Buddha and the dates represent the times each animal arrived. The order is: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. For more information on Chinese Zodiac and personality traits, visit www.chinesezodiac.com.

The year of the dragon was celebrated at the gala.

Various dances were performed by several groups showcasing different styles in Chinese culture. Dancers, musicians and the Children Folk Dance Group entertained the guests in celebration.

The COCCC is a non-profit charitable organization that offers special courses to its members and non-members, including Chinese painting, Chinese calligraphy, tai chi class and even ballroom dancing. They also support the Chinese community of Kitchener and Waterloo with translation services and a Canadian citizenship course.

The COCCC currently has over 170 members in Waterloo Region and welcomes anyone who wants to learn about Chinese culture. A family of up to four people can pay $30 a year to receive discounts to events and activities run by the COCCC. The membership is $20 a year for individuals.

For more information, visit www.coccc.net.