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British Columbia Church Celebrates Chinese New Year

Tapestry Christian Reformed Church in Richmond, British Columbia, celebrated New Year’s twice this January.

(l-r) Addison Yih, Jocelyn Tien, and Vivian Yih

This past Sunday morning parishioners greeted each other with “Gung Hei Fat Choi” (“May prosperity be with you”), as they celebrated the Chinese New Year.

Bright reds, pinks, and golds filled the worship space with colors of traditional dress. A mini-festival followed the morning church service, complete with activities such as lantern-making and calligraphy as well as a tea-tasting booth. The feast included traditional tasting treats such as homemade steam buns, dumplings, noodles, and fortune cookies.

“It was great fun trying all the many different Chinese treats! What looked like meat was actually a gooey sweet treat,” said Hennie Beeksma. “And the little round white balls were not peppermints but a rice ball! The pomelo mouth-carving contest was great!”

A few weeks ago, Beeksma treated her fellow congregants to oliebollen, a deep fried cake served at New Year’s in her Dutch tradition.

The church is located in a city with a predominantly Chinese Asian population, and the congregation’s name reflects its multicultural membership. A number of Chinese dialects are represented in the church, including Chinese Philippine, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Singapore.

The Chinese New Year is considered the most important event on the Chinese calendar.

About the Author

Jenny deGroot is a teacher/librarian in Langley, British Columbia.

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