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Chinese New Year's celebrations get off to early start in Winnipeg

The Chinese community in Winnipeg is celebrating the Year of the Monkey Sunday with its Chinese new year banquet, with between 400 and 500 people expected to attend.

Year of the Monkey in 2016 could bring 'risk, learning and change,' organizer says

The Chinese community in Winnipeg is celebrating the Year of the Monkey Sunday with its Chinese new year banquet, with between 400 and 500 people expected to attend. 1:18

The Chinese community in Winnipeg is celebrating the Year of the Monkey Sunday with its Chinese new year banquet, with between 400 and 500 people expected to attend.

"The Year of the Monkey is considered to be fast-paced and energetic," Tina Chen, the director of the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre (WCCCC).
The Year of the Monkey begins on Feb. 8. (Doug Trent/CBC)

"It is also unpredictable, where luck and good fortune in personal and business lives can shift very quickly."

Chen said many in the community believe 2016 will be characterized by "risk, learning and change," based on traditional symbolism associated with the Year of the Monkey.

The party Sunday will kick off with a lion dance, which is "a loud and celebratory way to say 'Welcome,'" Malinda Lee, a spokesperson for the WCCCC said.

Although it's a week before actual Chinese New Year on Feb. 8, the dinner is part of a three-week celebratory lead-up.

"It's basically fellowship and being happy that we're able to have another year and an opportunity that we're able to give our blessings," Lee said.
A lion dance winds through the dining room at Kum Koon Garden restaurant as part of the 2016 Chinese New Year celebration. (CBC)

The banquet will have about 10 courses with staples like long life noodles and fish, the latter of which symbolizes fortune.

"It'll be a lot of delicious food. You'll never leave Chinese New Year hungry," Lee said, adding Winnipeggers from all walks of life are invited to attend.

"It's a great opportunity for them to share our culture because we love it so much!"

The cultural centre is hosting the dinner in partnership with the Winnipeg Chinatown Development Corporation and the Manitoba Chinese Benevolent Association. Tickets are still on sale to the public.

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