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Images: Yellowknife celebrates the start of the Chinese New Year

Hundreds of Yellowknife residents visited the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre over the weekend to acknowledge the beginning of the Chinese New Year.

Monday is the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, China’s biggest and most ceremonious holiday. Hundreds of millions of people will celebrate the occasion worldwide.

The Chinese calendar assigns each new year an animal per a rotating zodiac of 12: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

This year is the Year of the Monkey. People born in the Year of the Monkey are characterized as intelligent, witty, curious and playful.

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The years 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992 and 2004 were also assigned as the Year of the Monkey.

In Yellowknife, an estimated 600 people visited the museum on Saturday to mark the occasion.

“Everyone knows Chinese food is great so let’s leave that alone this time and focus on culture,” said Xiaoyi Yan, who organized this year’s event.

“It was a very significant day for kids in the program. They were so proud and I think they had a great time.”

Yellowknifers celebrated Chinese culture through storytelling, calligraphy, face painting and dance among other activities. Yan estimates Yellowknife’s Chinese community to be roughly 200 strong.

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“Wherever I go for any community event, the Chinese have never been a dominant part,” she said with a laugh. “So [Saturday] was pretty much what I expected. I saw people from all kinds of backgrounds enjoy the events together.

“We want to show our kids that Chinese culture doesn’t only belong to the Chinese, it can be enjoyed by everyone.”IMG_7920IMG_7927IMG_7942IMG_7967

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