Lloyd MacIlquham, organizer of Nanaimo’s Robbie Burns and Chinese New Year event, and dancers Hui Zhang, left, Jie Shen, lion dancers Demie and Hanxi MacIlquham, Jieyu Shi and Weiren Wang are preparing to celebrate Robbie Burns’s 259th birthday and usher in the Chinese Year of the Dog. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Robbie Burns Day, Chinese New Year seem to fit together

Nanaimo’s 11th annual Robbie Burns and Chinese New Year Celebration event takes place Feb. 3

It will be the best of both worlds as the 11th annual Robbie Burns and Chinese New Year Celebration event takes place Feb. 3.

A hybrid celebration of Robbie Burns Day, Jan. 25, and Chinese New Year, beginning Feb. 16, the Year of ‘The Twa Dogs’ event is on Feb. 3 from 4-7 p.m. at the Bowen Park activity centre, playing on the Year of the Dog and the Burns poem The Twa Dogs.

There will be fusion cuisine on the menu, including haggis won tons and neeps-and-tatties spring rolls. Scottish and Chinese culture-inspired entertainment is also on tap, including puppet and fashion shows and a lion-sword dance, according to Lloyd MacIlquham, organizer.

“It’s a combination of the Scottish sword dance with the (Chinese) lion dance … it’s something that we created about four years ago and then we’re going to have the Address to the Haggis (Burns poem) and we’re looking at about 10 languages total. In the last few years, we’ve had four languages, which is old Scottish and Mandarin, Cantonese and French.”

Norwegian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Russian will be among the new languages the poem is translated to. Members of Amphion Theatre Players 136 will also be performing the address with puppets, said MacIlquham.

When asked about combining Scottish and Chinese culture into one celebration, MacIlquham said it seems like a good fit.

“They fall about the same time and both the Scottish and Chinese love a party,” he said.

Tickets are $25 or $12.50 for children between six and 10 years old. Tickets can be purchased at the Chinese Language and Art Centre, south Nanaimo Days Inn, Vida Mia Hair Salon and Life Style Health and Fitness Centre.

Proceeds from the event will go to 136 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Amphion.


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