On Surrey Vaisakhi Day 2013 on April 20, 201, Sikhs around the lower mainland and elsewhere came to worship at the Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar temple. Tens of thousands of South Asians then took part in the parade and enjoyed the free food and entertainment along the route that stretched several kilometers. The event is the oldest and one of the largest Vaisakhi Day programs outside India.
You don’t have to be South Asian to appreciate the all-you-can-eat free foods and drinks. There are plenty of Indian foods such as bottled water, Coke, Pepsis, fruit juices and other sodas. The hot sweetly-spiced Indian milk tea remains the favorite beverage however. Community performers and song-and-dance groups including the Punjabi group, Kohinoor Folk Arts Club have all gathered to provide entertainment.
As evident in the video above, the money offerings at the Gurdwara Sahib temple consist of more American dollars than Canadian ones (many in $1 dollar denomination). Way more. Does that suggest there were U.S citizens coming to Canada to attend this celebration? And as the Canadian $1 and $2 have become out of fashion in everyday use, the U.S. $1 becomes a popular and ‘cheaper’ replacement in cash donations, is that possible? Whatever the reason, the spirit of giving and generosity towards anyone were very much alive on Vaisakhi Day. That’s the way it is meant to be.
Was the BC Premier Christy Clark (together with her fellow Liberals Suzanne Anton, Amrik Tung, Kuljeet Kaur, Gurjit Dhillon, Moira Stilwell etc.) out campaigning to get ethnic votes or just taking part in the celebration of Vaisakhi Day one month before BC Election 2013 in Vancouver’s South Asian community of Main & 50th Ave?
Such was a question posed to the premier by a CBC reporter citing a similar accusation from NDP leader Adrian Dix whose political team was also at the event on April 13, 2013. Clark in particular mentioned the Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA) show that her government spent $11million to bring to Vancouver a week earlier. The BC general election is scheduled to take place on May 14, 2013, one month before BC Election 201. Christy Clark was behind Adrian Dix in every poll taken in recent weeks.
This Vancouver South area is a major center for the South Asian community. In 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper also stopped by and stood on the same podium and gave a Vaisakhi blessing as Christy Clark did. Both of them were running for re-election. An estimated 100,000 people showed up at Vaisakhi Vancouver 2013 which had the oldest Vaisakhi parade in North America.
Vaisakhi or Baisakhi as it is also known celebrates the start of the harvesting season for Punjabi farmers. This historical event which dated back to 1699 also marked the origin of Khalsa the Sikh religion.
Cherry Blossom Japan Fair Festival Saurka Days in Vancouver. The 2103 event takes place at the VanDusen Botanical Garden (5151 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC) April 06 & 07, 2013 from 10AM – 5PM. The World Umbrella Dance as choreographed by Shiamak Davar takes place on April 13, 2013 at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 12:45PM.
Eastern Legends is the internationally-acclaimed sizhu musical group from Taiwan’s Chai Found Music Workshop. The six girl and one boy band plays Chinese chamber music and fuses traditional Asian music with other popular music genres of today.
They were invited by the Ottawa Chamber Music Society to come to Canada to perform at the CIBC LunarFest 2013 both in the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and the Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver in Feb 2013 to coincide with the celebration of the Lunar New Year or the Year of the Snake.
The band employ a wide variety of Chinese musical instruments such as the Erhu 二胡, Pipa 琵琶, Guzheng 古箏, Yueqin 月琴, Se 瑟, Dizi 笛子, Xiao 簫, Laba 喇叭 and the like. The result is a mix of traditional Asian melody with an occasional best of rap and Hip-Hop.
LuarFest 2013 is mainly a Taiwanese and Korean culture showcase integrated with plenty of other Asian multicultural elements to delight kids and adults from all communities to celebrate the lunar new year.
Celine Dion was invited to perform in Beijing China at the 2013 Spring Festival Gala that rang in the first day of Lunar New Year, the Year of The Snake, on Feb 10, 2013.
The extravagant variety show featuring dozens of domestic celebrities is a traditional annual TV show broadcast by the state network CCTV (China Central Television) all across the country to help celebrate the Chinese New Year.
The Spring Festival Gala 2013 was also re-transmitted to an oversea audience all around the world including Canada here.
Celine Dion sang in Mandarin a duet 茉莉花 (Jasmine Flower) with China songstress Song Zuying 宋祖英. Then Dion sang solo her signature ‘Titanic’ movie theme song ‘My Heart Will Go On.’
According to a Xinhua Net report, this is the first time an A-list singer from the West like Celine Dion was being invited to perform at one of the most-watched television shows of the year in China, the Spring Festival Gala.
Celine’s Mandarin was certainly good enough. Her harmony with Song was exquisite. While Ms Song exhibited a more refined discipline, Ms. Dion’s free-flowing style provided a perfect counter-balance. To this viewer, it is like watching two superb artists applying vastly different brush-strokes on the same canvas that somehow mesh very well together.
VIDEO –China Spring Festival Gala in Beijing (Xinhua Net)
Year of the Snake 2013 Asian Expo Vancouver Lunar New Year celebration (Jan 31 – Feb 03, 2013) at BC Place in Vancouver BC, Canada. Chinese New Year multicultural celebration. Dance, Hip Hop, Model Search Competition, body-paint Fantasy Makeup Contest, Justin Lo Singing Show, Gary Chaw Concert etc.
It’s the Year of the Snake, so even a tortoise could be faster than a Ferrari!!
Vancouver Christmas Market Brings Old-World German Holiday Tradition & Best Shopping Experience You’ll Have All Season to Vancouver BC, Canada.
Get into the Holiday Spirit, Vancouver!
The Vancouver Christmas Market (VCM) follows the centuries-old tradition of a German Christmas market and brings all the cultural delights at this time of the year from Deutschland to all families from every community in this part of the world to help celebrate the holiday season. Besides Christmas-themed foods and entertainment, the VCM promises to offer the best shopping experience you’ll have all season as well.
This year as was last year, the location of the Vancouver Christmas Market is at the open plaza area right next to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (QE Theatre). It is a good location and just a short 5-minute walk from the Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain station and readily accessible to buses including some Northshore lines.
As suggested by VCM which tries its best to follow sustainable eco-friendly principles, the best way to get the market is by making use of public transportation. Though parking is also conveniently located including one that is right underneath the QE Theatre should you decided to drive.
This QE Theatre location is also where the First nations Aboriginal Pavilion was during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. In fact, the founder and president of VCM, Mr. Malte Kluetz indicated that he was inspired by that global sporting event that further established the City of Vancouver as an international destination to setup a world-class Christmas market with ideas based on his homeland country of Germany.
So what can be found inside the Vancouver Christmas Market?
With 45 vendors participating this year, many of then from Germany and Austria, the VCM offers a sampling of products, services and entertainment from the Bavarian country and surrounding regions. Here, you will find Bavarian Weisswurst, German Bratwurst, Swiss chesses, salted Bretzels, waffles, cinnamon bakeries, fine Belgian chocolates and the many different varieties of hand-crafted and painted chocolate candies.
Yes, there is a Carousel ride which is Vancouver’s first and only Christmas Carousel at $3 per ticket or 5 tickets for $10 too. Information for rates, tickets, prepaid special groups (of 20 people or more) and a 2-for-1 lunch pass (for downtown workers) are available at the Vancouver Christmas Market web site at http://vancouverchristmasmarket.com.
New this season is a FREE RE-ENTRY offer. You paid once for admission and you will receive a re-entry pass that allows you to come back anytime you want for the entire season which opens its gates from November 24 to December 24, 2012, 11am-9pm with early closing on Christmas Eve (Dec 24) at 6pm.
The Vancouver Christmas Market is largely an outdoor venue, so dress appropriately. Kaethe Wohlfahrt, Germany’s top Christmas ornament and décor company which sells hundreds of unique and one-of-a-kind Christmas decorative items, is the only shop sheltered inside a building that is part of the QE Theatre complex. Many of the outdoor shops are housed inside wooden huts. Washrooms are exterior temporary toilets (i.e. portable johns.)
No Christmas tree, either real or fake is sold at the market, so don’t come shopping for that and you won’t be disappointed. At the market, you will find many finely-crafted Christmas items on display with everyone seemingly having a story to tell and an old-world tradition beckoning you to find out more.
The VCM is a licensed premise, so alcoholic drinks are available for those who can be proved themselves to be 19 or over. Glühwein and a popular variant, the Feuerzangenbowle with a rum-soaked sugarloaf set on fire and dipped into the wine (usually red) are also served at the market. Adhering to the principle of sustainability to reduce waste, these popular German Christmas beverages are served in recyclable mugs. After your enjoyment, you can return the mug to get your $2 mug deposit back.
However, due to food and liquor licensing, no dogs or other pets are allowed with the exception for guide dogs. The market is also easily wheelchair accessible.
There is a live stage which features live bands, dancers and entertainment by artists and groups from such countries as Bulgaria, the Ukraine, Germany, Estonia and others. The Santa’s Brass Band plays traditional Christmas tunes with a toe-tapping rhythm that sees many visitors dancing with their partner around the stage.
And yes, this is a suggestion for the organizer – The melodies from ‘The Sound of Music’ would seem to fit in the market very well and indeed one would feel ‘the hills are alive’, so perhaps we might see (and hear) some of that in the future? On the other hand, the Vancouver Christmas Market is certainly teeming with life with a constant stream of visitors milling about the merchant stalls on Sunday afternoon Nov 25. Mr Kluetz said he expects to have 160,000 visitors this year. The 2011 attendance was 130,000.
Besides merchandizes from European producers, there are also no shortages of local and fair Trade goods including Fraser Valley honey, products from Ecofair Tarding and Tradewinds, woolen hats and clothing from Namaste National Products etc. And speaking of honey, Germany is the biggest honey-lover in the world, proclaimed one of the honey vendors at the market.
Diwali means the festival of light. The organizers of the Vancouver DIWALI 2012 (Nov 09, 2012) adopted the slogan “Light Your Spirit” to celebrate the universal light that exists in all of us. Enlightenment would perhaps be appropriate as well.
The evening’s programming included a number of highly sought-after dance and music acts from the Canadian South Asian community.
First up is the Chaniya Chokries Vancouver Garba Dance team at the Roundhouse Community Center in downtown Vancouver’s Yaletown on Nov 10, 2012. The dance story is the telling of the widely-known and popular Radha & Krishna tale that has long been an Indian folklore. The Chaniya Chokries dancers are Vancouver’s newest Garba dance team coming from a national competition in Canada where they placed first in their category.
Other performers included Merlyn Prakash, South Asian Arts from Panj Bhangra, Sangeeta Maruti, Amika Kushwaha, Lapis, Kathak + Flamenco Fusion, DJ A-Slam + Kytami, Vancity Bhangra, Shaimak Vancouver Bollywood Dance Team. Fusion seems to be a key concept and there are no shortages of cross-cultural collaboration between artists from very different backgrounds and artistic disciplines within this group.
To top off the evening at 8:30 PM, a band of percussionists brought together by Sal Ferreras lead the audience outside onto the ground where the old Engine 374 came to rest at the roundhouse which was renovated 26 years before in 1986 when the city of Vancouver celebrated its 100 years of incorporation. The locomotive engine now lies inside a glassy museum nearby.
There, band members played a variety of instruments including Bhangra drums, Taiko, Brazilian bongos and others. Many in the audience stood on their feet and danced enthusiastically as if to release some of the pent-up energy gathered from the night’s powerfully rhythmic beats and vibrant writhing bodily moves from many of the South Asian dance numbers earlier.
Once again, it is what this writer would proclaim ‘Bollywood in Vancouver’. Live!!
Shiamak Vancouver Bollywood Dance [A Video by Ray Van Eng | www.vancouver21.com ]
Chaniya Chokries Garba Girls Team [A Video by Ray Van Eng | www.vancouver21.com ]
Amika Kushwaha + Cassius Khan [A Video by Ray Van Eng | www.vancouver21.com ]
DJ A-Slam + Kytami [A Video by Ray Van Eng | www.vancouver21.com ]
The Anime Evolution Akimatsuri 2012 is an annual convention for Anime, Manga and Cosplay animated cartoon and comic fans in the Greater Vancouver area. After a leave of absence in 2011 to organize itself better, Anime Evolution Akimatsuri 2012 is back this year as a non-profit organization for the greater enjoyment of fans and was being held at the Simon Fraser University (SFU) campus in Burnaby, BC from Nov 3-4, 2012.
The programming included a wide-range of subjects to satisfy every taste. There are Cosplay Contest, Anime Evolution Idol singing contest, open play, Anime episode screening, music videos, voice and acting tutorials, fitness for nerds, Cosplay makeup, how to improve workshops, plushie-making for beginners, AMV, Kabuki Theatre in Anime, Pokemon masters, samurai girls, Sengoku Era and Shinsengumi, amateur fantasy play, parodies and performances, League of Legends, together with Anime music video screening, even panels on the convention industry in Vancouver.
One of the audience favorites is the Cosplay Contest with quite a few of the contestants featuring space-age, sword and sandals warrior fighter costumes, boffer safe weapons to add some exciting sword play action.
Many fans also came for the celebrity autograph open area with appearances by such well-known movie, TV and animation industry players as Mackenzie Gray, Lauren Landa, Cathy Weseluck, Jason Charles Miller, Kelly Sheridan Lee Tockar and more with a Guest Meet and Greet Dinner afterwards.
Anime Evolution, COS & Effect and Anime Revolution are the three main events for Vancouver anime, manga and cosplay fans.