Lions, dragons, and dancers. Oh my! Eat your heart out world of Oz because our YYC Chinatown has you beat this year. For over 100 years Chinatown has been a vibrant Calgary staple, full of culture, community, and commerce. This year we have a treasure trove in what the Asian (mostly Chinese) population has to offer. From teas to jewelry, local artisans showcase their work for the whole of the city to enjoy.
Particularly from the Amore Candles & Company, intricately molded candles with a delectable scent that is not overpowering but instead lifts you to where you need to be. One must enjoy a tree-shaped green tea candle that reminds you of a soft dewy morning or a lavender rose-shaped candle that brings you to an opulent garden. Word of advice though, don’t eat one of their macarons because despite how delicious they look it would be in your best interest to remember that they are just a tiny candle.
Another unforgettable stand belongs to the Calgary Chalk artist Rozzie Lee whose talented drawings can be seen throughout Calgary itself. From sidewalks to local business vendors, Rozzie Lee brings a sense of fun and colour wherever she goes. Her whimsical style puts a smile on the public’s face when they get a glimpse of her work. That is the same with her stand at this Chinese festival. You just have to see the small pictures of sayings and paintings on her stand to see how true that is. “Life is too short to wear boring clothes.” How true is that.
Beautiful music was played thanks to many wonderful musicians. The public got a good taste of Korean pop, Cantonese song singing, and traditional belly dance music but the heart opens when a person hears the Calgary Chinese Cultural Society Orchestra. The harmonizing on their string instruments made the setting a little dreamy and full of gentle feeling. This is something to look for when you stop and appreciate music in the air.
The shows too were fantastic. The dragon parade at the start of the festival got everyone into the spirit. To see this long dancing mythical beast, march up and down the street had people cheering for more. That is certainly what they got with the traditional lion dance was performed at the main stage. You never think that the proverbial “kings of the jungle” could be so graceful and in tune with the music. The QiPao fashion show had a marvel of beautiful long elegant dresses that sparkled like gems. It makes you wish how much you would love to own one of those exotic outfits to wear on a night on the town.
After visiting so many wonders it does not hurt to grab a bite at one of their local restaurants. Whether it is the Silver Dragon Restaurant or the Happy Veggie House, you can not go wrong. However, with the food trucks that were present you can always get yourself a waffle with strawberry compote, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce at the Wannawafel. Or you could also get some classic poutine from Miss Poutine. Need I say more?
Festivals like this help us to understand another person’s background and where they come from. It also helps us to empathize and truly get to know others who are different from us. Whether it is through music, food, or just by talking to new people, you can learn a lot about humility and humanity. Different cultures bring us amazing possibilities and open our eyes to new adventures. Xiexie Chinatown! Looking forward to the Lantern Festival in September.
Special Thanks to:
Calgary Chinatown: For putting on such a fab festival for all to enjoy. https://www.calgarychinatown.com/