Lunar New Year festivities in Victoria’s Chinatown today, noon to 3 p.m.

The start of the Year of the Rat will be marked with festivities in Victoria’s Chinatown on Sunday, noon to 3 p.m. at the Gates of Harmonious Interest, on Fisgard Street between Government and Store streets. The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association is sponsoring a lion dance performance and a kung fu demonstration will take place shortly after.

Members of the Wong Sheung Hung Fut Kung Fu Club will perform the dance, with the lion visiting merchants who hang up offerings, bringing those businesses good luck and prosperity for the year ahead.

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Proceeds from the event will be used to continue teaching the dance and kung fu in Victoria.

Dress for the weather as the event is outdoors and will take place rain or shine. For more information, go to

We entering the Year of the Rat. The rat is the first animal in the 12-year Chinese zodiac. According to Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor held a competition to decide the zodiac animals to include in the calendar, saying their placement would be determined by the order in which they reached his palace.

The quick-witted rat asked the ox for a ride across a river to the palace. Upon reaching the shore, the rat jumped down and reached the palace just before the ox, becoming the first of the zodiac animals.

• Saturday, at the Royal B.C. Museum, Jessica Yue will perform a traditional Chinese dance, 1 to 2 p.m., at the museum’s Old Town exhibit, 1 to 2 p.m. Watch the dance as part of your admission fee to the museum.

• The Victoria Chinatown Lioness Club is hosting a Chinese New Year banquet, featuring an eight-course Chinese meal, raffle baskets and live and silent auctions. The event, in its 26th year, is the largest fundraiser of the year for the service club.

The event starts at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1 at Golden City Restaurant, 721 Fisgard St. Tickets are $50 and are available from Pat Hannah, 250-216-2705, Gayle Chong, 778-678-2773 or Amanda Mills, 250-727-0222. For more information, go to

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