General — 16 February 2019 — by Courtney Menzies
Belize celebrates Chinese New Year

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Feb. 12, 2019– While most Belizeans celebrate the New Year on January 1, Chinese New Year is celebrated in February. All across Belize, firecrackers could be heard throughout the weekend, starting from Saturday.

The Belize Chinese Association (BCA) began the celebrations with the traditional Lion Dance Parade. Plenty of Belizeans have seen this dance occur in front of Chinese businesses. This year, about 48 stores requested the dance.

On Sunday, there was a banquet at the Ramada. There were about 800 guests who attended, both Chinese and Belizeans, and it lasted from 12:00  p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Belizean band Ascenthium played at the banquet, delighting the guests with 2 Chinese songs.

Edmund Quan, former BCA chair, said in an interview with 7News that the band did an excellent job in terms of the language.

Chinese New Year is not a public and bank holiday in Belize, but in China, workers are able to get time off. According to Quan, factory workers sometimes get a month off, while bankers and professionals in similar fields get a shorter period.

Quan also said that BCA tries to keep the celebrations going in order to preserve the Chinese culture in Belize. The banquet allows the Chinese community from every part of the country to gather together in one place to celebrate together.

Quan described the Chinese New Year as “Christmas for the western region.”

Every year on the Chinese calendar is represented by an animal, and this year is the year of the pig.

During the celebrations, Johnson Ou was elected as BCA’s new chairman. Ou has been living in Belize for about 30 years.

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