Getting ready for Chinese New Year

Dr Sun Yat-Sen Garden -cropI didn’t expect to see much in Vancouver’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden in the middle of January, but when I visited last Saturday, I found it blooming with red lanterns and bustling with preparations for Chinese New Year. I was also surprised to see winter jasmine in flower and many trees full of early buds.

The Chinese  lunar New Year (which begins on January 31 this year) is a time for sweeping away the old (dust, clutter, debts, worries) and welcoming in the new (renewing hope for health, happiness, and good fortune). Staff and volunteers at the garden were busy cleaning, tidying, tying up loose-ends, and decorating in preparation for the upcoming Year of the Horse Temple Fair, Feb 2 (2014). Red lanterns are hung around the garden to bring good luck (red is considered the most auspicious colour because of its association with fire, the sun, energy, light, and life-blood, which demons fear, so it also keeps demons away), and they welcome back the light of spring.

A few images and haiku from my visit:


New Year’s lanterns─
the courtyard mosaics
swept clear


preparing for
the New Year─
peony buds


still pond─
finding the courage
to say goodbye






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8 Responses to “Getting ready for Chinese New Year”

  1. Jean-Pierre Antonio Says:

    Beautiful! Wish I could go to the lantern festival. I’m sure it will look spectacular when the lanterns are lit at night. In Japan, February 2nd is Setsubun. Children throw beans at a demon (usually the Dad wearing a demon mask) and drive him out of the house. Then they eat the same number of beans as their age for good luck and health. Magic beans! Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

    • Jacquie Says:

      Thanks, Jean-Pierre! The Chinese New Year event at the garden is in the afternoon, so the lanterns are not actually lit. They did have an evening lantern festival in December for winter solstice, with lit lanterns, which transformed the garden into a magical place.

      I like the magic bean tradition (my daughter would be happy to throw beans at her dad).

  2. metalandmettle Says:

    Jacqueline, I enjoyed your post very much. Sun Yat-Sen Garden is one of my favourite places in Vancouver. Your photos and your haikus have really captured the beauty and poetry of it all. Your haiku “Still Pond” is perfect.

    • Jacquie Says:

      Thanks, Dominique! I appreciate the feedback. I have a membership to the garden (very affordable) and enjoy stopping by in all the seasons seasons and weather.

  3. oldpondcomics Says:

    So beautiful. What a great coincidence that you were there at the same moment they were hanging the lanterns. This blogpost was absolutely wonderful.

  4. julietwilson Says:

    Beautiful series of photos.


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