Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is a major celebration in many parts of Asia where people with Chinese ancestry live. But its celebration is also spreading in Canada, where a sizable Chinese and Asian population exists. The date of Chinese New Year is generally in late January or early February.
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Chinese New Year is not a statutory holiday in Canada, but more and more people are taking part in annual Chinese New Year events that focus on Chinese food, decorations and parades.
People of Chinese and Asian ancestry have been immigrating to Canada since 1788, when they set up a fur trading post in British Columbia at Nootka Sound. And today, over a million Canadians are of Chinese descent. Additionally, many others of Asian descent celebrate Chinese New Year in Canada rather than just strictly Chinese.
At Chinese New Year, many people will decorate their homes with red paper, folded into the shape of a diamond and with messages painted on it, with mandarin oranges, and with other items designed to bring good luck. Money in red envelopes is often given to children, and important reunion dinners take place that bring extended family together.
In major population centres there are parades with lion and dragon dance and fireworks events. A new Canadian stamp is issued with the Chinese zodiac sign on it that corresponds with that particular New Year.