Lloyd MacIlquham, Robbie Burns Chinese New Year event organizer, is surrounded by members of the Flowers of Nanaimo Chinese dancers Hui Zhang, left, Jie Shen, Jieyu Shi and Weiren Wang who will be among the performers and entertainers at this year’s event, happening Saturday at John Barsby Secondary School. News Bulletin file photo

Year of the Pig and Robbie Burns Day combine for cross-culture celebration

Chinese and Scottish culture meet at 12th annual Robbie Burns Chinese New Year.

Cultures from east and west come together at the 12th annual Robbie Burns and Chinese New Year Celebration.

This year’s event happens Saturday, Feb. 2, to honour the start of the Chinese New Year, Tuesday, Feb. 5, and Robbie Burns Day, Jan. 25.

Once again there will be Scottish highland dancers and Chinese lion dance performances, traditional music and folk songs, door prizes and more.

“But we also have a lion sword dance, which is a combination of the Scottish sword dance and a lion dance,” said Lloyd MacIlquham, event organizer.

This year the Address of the Haggis will be read in 12 languages as readers take their turns on stage to read portions of the poem that last year was read in several languages that included Norwegian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Russian.

“Before we used to do it in four languages and I started doing it in Mandarin about 10 years ago … and then we brought in Cantonese and then we brought in French quite a while ago, so now we have about 12 languages … So up on the stage we’ll have about 12 people and 12 haggises,” MacIlquham said.

Old Scottish, of course, will be among the languages the haggis will be address in.

“After that, for the first time in the 4,700-year history of the Chinese New Year, we’re going to have the address to the hot pot,” he said. “It’s kind of a take-off on the address to the haggis [with] pomp and ceremony and bringing it in to Chinese music and then reciting a little poem. Hopefully it’s going to be in four languages; Mandarin,Cantonese, English and French.”

A hotpot, also known as Chinese fondue, is a traditional Chinese dinner with a pot filled with simmering broth in the centre of a table surrounded by thinly-sliced raw ingredients that dinner guest can chose from and cook quickly in the broth. Hotpot recipes and ingredients vary widely.

Entertainment includes a live band, the Flowers of Nanaimo Chinese dancers, and a surprise grand finale for which MacIlquham won’t won’t provide specifics other than to say everyone at the event will be joining in.

The 2019 Robbie Burns Chinese New Year will be held at John Barsby Secondary School to accommodate the more than 200 guests expected this year.

The event runs 4-7 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12.50 for children 6 to 10 (free admission for children under 6) and are available in advance.

Event proceeds support 136 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Amphion Nanaimo.

For more event details and locations to purchase tickets, visit www.lloydlive.ca.

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