PHOTOS: Hundreds celebrate Year of the Rat in Victoria’s Chinatown

Hundreds gathered in Victoria’s Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Year and watch traditional lion dancing and kung fu demonstrations Sunday. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)Hundreds gathered in Victoria’s Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Year and watch traditional lion dancing and kung fu demonstrations Sunday. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Hundreds gathered in Victoria’s Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Year and watch traditional lion dancing and kung fu demonstrations Sunday. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)Hundreds gathered in Victoria’s Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Year and watch traditional lion dancing and kung fu demonstrations Sunday. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
A young girl gets into position as the traditional lion dancing performance begins in Victoria’s Chinatown Sunday. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)A young girl gets into position as the traditional lion dancing performance begins in Victoria’s Chinatown Sunday. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
The Chinese word for lettuce sounds like wealth. The lion eats and scatters the lettuce, which signifies good luck. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)The Chinese word for lettuce sounds like wealth. The lion eats and scatters the lettuce, which signifies good luck. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Janet Cheang brought her dog Suzie to the Chinese New Year celebration in Chinatown. Cheang buys Suzie a new outfit to wear during every Chinese New Year. The Chinese word for lettuce sounds like wealth. The lion eats and scatters the lettuce, which signifies good luck. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)Janet Cheang brought her dog Suzie to the Chinese New Year celebration in Chinatown. Cheang buys Suzie a new outfit to wear during every Chinese New Year. The Chinese word for lettuce sounds like wealth. The lion eats and scatters the lettuce, which signifies good luck. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
The Chinese word for lettuce sounds like wealth. The lion eats and scatters the lettuce, which signifies good luck. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)The Chinese word for lettuce sounds like wealth. The lion eats and scatters the lettuce, which signifies good luck. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
The Chinese word for lettuce sounds like wealth. The lion eats and scatters the lettuce, which signifies good luck. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)The Chinese word for lettuce sounds like wealth. The lion eats and scatters the lettuce, which signifies good luck. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

The clanging of cymbals, the overwhelming sight of red, and the bang of firecrackers took over Victoria’s Chinatown Sunday.

Hundreds flocked to the Gate of Harmonious Interest, located on Fisgard Street, to celebrate the Year of the Rat.

Lion dancers from Wong Sheung Kung Fu Club captivated onlookers as they teased the crowds with their quick reflexes and playful routines. The group tore up lettuce and grabbed red envelopes hanging from the storefronts of nearby businesses.

The Chinese word for lettuce sounds like “wealth”. Traditionally, the lion takes the lettuce and spreads it around the storefront entrance, which is believed to bring good luck for the year.

Victorian Janet Chaeng dressed up her dog, Suzie, in a traditional Chinese outfit. The 15-year-old dog has been gifted a new outfit every year, according to Chaeng. Just as quickly as their photo was taken in front of the Gate of Harmonious Interest, Suzie disappeared into the crowds, being pushed in a dog stroller.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Victoria ushers in Year of the Pig

As the first of 12 zodiac signs, those with the rat symbol most notably have strengths that will make them intelligent and successful business people.

Those born in 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936 and 1924 have the rat as their sign.

Chinese New Year began Jan. 25 and the celebrations will last just over two weeks until Feb. 8.

ALSO READ: Year of the Rat: Celebrate Chinese New Year with Victoria food fundraiser

aaron.guillen@

goldstreamgazette.com