With the Year of the Dragon about to kick off around the world, Richmond is once again at the heart of Metro Vancouver’s Chinese New Year celebrations. There are some great activities to dive into around the city––and many of them are family-friendly as well as low cost or admission-free. Also known as Lunar New Year, the official date is February 10, but some festivities start before then while others take place later in the month.

Enjoy a variety of festivities in Richmond throughout the New Year period. PHOTO CREDIT: Tourism Richmond.

What’s it All About?

Traditionally, the Chinese calendar’s lunar celebrations run until the 15th day after the start of the New Year. And the festivities are not just a China-only affair: lunar revelries take place in many parts of Asia, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and beyond. Family is a huge part of the celebrations, with relatives typically gathering to mark the happy occasion with sumptuous feasts. In Chinese astrology, the dragon––specifically, this year, the wood dragon––symbolizes strength, health and good luck.

What Will I See in Richmond?

There will be lots of chances to see dragon and lion dances in Richmond this year. PHOTO CREDIT: Tourism Richmond.

Shimmering red and gold decorations adorn the city throughout the New Year period, especially at malls, temples, restaurants and stores. Plan ahead, and you can also enjoy colourful and kinetic lion and dragon dances, along with other fascinating cultural performances. You will also find pop-up flower markets selling festive items, many of them with special symbolic meanings.

What’s on at Aberdeen Centre?

Aberdeen Centre’s special Flower & Gift Fair is always popular. PHOTO CREDIT: Aberdeen Centre.

Always a magnet for Chinese New Year fans, Aberdeen’s popular Flower & Gift Fair runs daily from February 2 to February 11. Its stalls will be selling treats, decorations and toys as well as festive plants and flowers. This time around, there’s also a special God of Fortune Photo Booth to check out––book a photo of you and your loved ones and you’ll be inviting blessings throughout the year!

On February 9, the mall will stay open past midnight for its televised New Year Countdown, complete with cultural performances, high-spirited crowds and an all-important visit from the God of Fortune himself. Return the next day for the 11:00 am Golden Dragon and Lion Dance in the mall’s Outdoor Courtyard plus entertaining indoor performances throughout the afternoon. There will be additional performances on February 11 (between 1:00pm and 4:15pm).

What’s on at Lansdowne Centre?

More than one dragon to look out for at Lansdowne. PHOTO CREDIT: Lansdowne Centre.

Another Chinese New Year hotspot, Lansdowne will be especially popular with fans of a particular construction toy this year. Head to the mall on February 3 and 4 to watch Robin Sather––Western Canada’s only Certified LEGO Professional––build a huge dragon model from scratch. The giant creation will be on display in the Centre Court area until February 25. But don’t forget to drop by on February 10 (from noon to 4:00pm) for celebratory dragon and lion dances, arts and crafts, an artisan market, interactive activities with Robin, family photo portraits and more.

What’s on at CF Richmond Centre?

Eye-catching décor that also function as seating for shoppers.  PHOTO CREDIT: CF Richmond Centre.

This ever-popular city centre mall is also pulling out all the stops to celebrate the Year of the Dragon. Start by snapping some selfies with their vibrant, tree-style decorations; they’ll be on display here until February 19. But be sure to visit on February 10 (from 2:00 pm onwards) for lion and dragon dances plus an appearance by the God of Fortune. There will also be additional Chinese New Year cultural performances and displays on February 13 (7:00pm to 8:00pm), February 14 (5:00pm to 7:00pm), February 18 (1:00pm to 3:00pm) and February 21 (5:00pm to 6:00pm).  

More Lion Dances

River Rock will host a lion dance ceremony again. PHOTO CREDIT: John Lee.

Just a few steps from Canada Line’s Bridgeport Station, River Rock Casino Resort will be hosting a Blessing Ceremony and Lion Dance in the free-entry lobby of its swish facility. From 3:30pm on February 10, a colourful array of energetic dancers from the region’s Kin Fung Athletic Group will sashay and weave before the crowds to mark the Year of the Dragon––firecrackers included! And if you’re shopping at IKEA Richmond on February 11 (from 11:00 am to noon), you’ll also find a lion dance and eye-dotting performance at the store’s main entrance.

Anything Else for Families?

Book ahead for this one-night-only show at the city’s Gateway Theatre. PHOTO CREDIT: Gateway Theatre.

Richmond’s Gateway Theatre is also marking the Year of the Dragon with a special one-night-only show on February 10: The Flame: Lunar New Year Edition. It’s the first time The Flame––Vancouver’s hugely popular storytelling series––has been presented on stage in the city. Book ahead for this hot-ticket event (tickets are just $25) and you’ll enjoy an evening of warm, intimate and entertaining true tales and live music from talented storytellers and performers.

Richmond’s Temples

Look out for dragons at Ling Yen Mountain Temple­­. PHOTO CREDIT: John Lee.

Several Richmond temples and monasteries traditionally celebrate the New Year with special events. Among the most popular, Ling Yen Mountain Temple­­––located on the city’s No. 5 Road (aka the Highway to Heaven)––will be offering its Ringing the Bell blessing ceremony on February 9 and 10, when the complex’s giant bell will resonate, encouraging wisdom and spiritual reflection for the time ahead. Additional events are also planned for this auspicious time of year––visit their website for details.

Chinese New Year Dining

Dumplings are said to represent fortune and prosperity. PHOTO CREDIT: Tourism Richmond.

Families traditionally feast together for Chinese New Year. And with such an extensive and authentic Asian dining scene, Richmond’s restaurants are often at their busiest during this festive period. You’ll find multi-course menus at many local restaurants, featuring dishes filled with symbolic meaning­­––including dumplings (said to be shaped like ancient Chinese money) and golden fruits, which reputedly symbolize fullness and wealth. Planning your own Year of the Dragon banquet in Richmond? Book ahead, especially for larger groups.

Last Updated on February 5, 2024 by Tourism Richmond