Lunar New Year 2021

Festive red lanterns to decorate the front of Gordon House

Sun Nin Fai Lok! Xin Nian Kuai Le! Happy Lunar New Year!

Many cultures celebrate the Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival. It is mainly based on a lunar calendar where the months are cycles of the moon and because of this, the dates of the holiday change slightly year to year. Sometimes the holiday is referred to as “Chinese New Year” but a number of Asian countries celebrate the Lunar New Year – including China, Vietnam, Korea, Tibet, Japan, and Mongolia. A few holiday traditions include eating long noodles (the key to a long life!), decorating your home with oranges (a symbol of good fortune), and gifting red envelopes (lai see) with small amounts of money! The lucky colours for this holiday are red and gold. Celebrations last several days and culminates to the Lantern Festival on the last day of the New Year’s celebrations – a night of colourful lanterns!

In the Chinese zodiac we are entering the year of the Metal Ox. To find out more about the Chinese zodiac and what your animal is Click Here!

At Gordon House we celebrated this holiday throughout our programming. In our Out of School Care program the kids learned the story behind the holiday and made lanterns to decorate the building.

OSC kids crafting lanterns

In our Young Ideas program we held a virtual crafting demo during which we made lanterns and fans while discussing the different experiences participants have had celebrating the holiday in the past. The participants were joined by one of the Out of School care staff and kids to show the group the lantern making skills they had learned the day before! Participants learned that traditionally in Chinese culture fans were used as a way to showcase artwork. As well as receiving crafting materials ahead of the workshop participants also received red envelopes with candy inside. The food programming staff shared with the group some special holiday recipes and information on food and symbolism.

fan made during the workshop
lanterns made by OSC on display at Gordon House!

Over in our Seniors programming we held a special Lunar New Year virtual cooking demo where participants learned to make dumplings. Participants received all of the groceries they would need to cook along at home ahead of time! The group also learned about the symbolism of food during this holiday. Check out some pictures and the recipe used below.

Dumpling Recipe
Steaming Dumplings
Pan Frying Dumplings
Food & Symbolism

Lastly, our Food programming staff incorporated Lunar New Year celebrations into our weekly meal deliveries to isolated seniors. This took the form of a special holiday meal – “Lunar New Year Celebration Bowl’ which contained traditional foods such as taro root and lotus root. Also included with the meal delivery was a recipe for Chow Mein, some information on food and symbolism, and a red envelope with chocolate coins. See below for pictures of the delicious special meal delivery, and the tasty Chow Mein recipe!

Lunar New Year Celebration Bowl
Lunar New Year Celebration Bowl
Chow Mein Recipe
Seniors delivery – Lunar Bowl, recipe, red envelope, and Valentines card!

Spanish at Gordon House

At Gordon Neighbourhood House we have a long history of running free language classes led by community volunteers. In the past these popular classes took place in person at Gordon House and were a great opportunity for community connection, skill sharing, and learning. Once the COVID-19 pandemic started we postponed these in-person programs for the safety of our community.

In June 2020 we began to host a weekly Spanish class again, but with the class taking place virtually via Zoom. This class is free to attend, and is led by a community volunteer. Over the last eight months the virtual Spanish class has become so popular with participants that we have added a second weekly class and split the group into ‘beginners’ and ‘intermediate’ classes.

One program participant had the following feedback on the virtual Spanish classes:

I am extremely grateful to Gordon Neighbourhood House for providing me with the opportunity to learn Beginners’ Spanish in the comfort and safety of my own home and I cannot believe my good fortune in being able to take a weekly online class with Jessica.  She is endlessly patient in answering our questions, provides us with an abundance of study materials, is always accessible through the group WhatsApp site, and continues to provide us with an excellent model of spoken Spanish so that we can practice correct pronunciation. Not only that, but Jessica is generous in sharing with us her Mexican culture which is a gift in itself. I also want to mention an unexpected bonus of the class, that of getting to know my lovely fellow-students!
One year ago the thought of being stuck at home in semi-isolation seemed daunting, but the pandemic has brought us all kinds of opportunities that never would have come our way were it not for the restrictions imposed on us.  They say that learning a language is one of life’s most rewarding activities. Thanks to Gordon House and to Jessica, I am discovering the benefits for myself!

Intermediate/Advance Spanish – Wednesdays at 12 noon

Beginner Spanish – Mondays at 10am

Register: welcome@gordonhouse.org

If you have language skills that you would like to share with the community then we are interested in supporting you to volunteer your time to teach classes and/or translate community resources. Please contact aileen@gordonhouse.org for more information.


Monthly Seniors’ Brochure

Gordon Neighbourhood House seniors’ program participants enjoy yoga in the park.

We have heard from several members that they would like to be able to download and print our monthly Seniors’ brochure at home.

In the future we will post the upcoming brochure with a complete list of programs. Stay tuned for our February 2021 calendar of activities.

Gordon House Monthly Talks in February

Bob Molavi – February 9 & 22 at 1:30pm

Join Bob Molavi, Author of Pure Happiness – Awaken to Your Truth, who will inspire you to look at life and the challenges it presents in a more positive and fulfilling way. To register, please contact Stephanie at 604-683-2554 or email stephanie@gordonhouse.org

David Roche – Thursday February 11th at 1:30pm

David Roche is an inspirational humorist, keynote speaker and performer who has transformed the challenges and gifts of living with a facial difference into a compelling message that uplifts and delights audiences around the world. With the publication of his first book, The Church of 80% Sincerity, he is also an author. To register, please contact Stephanie at 604-683-2554 or email stephanie@gordonhouse.org

Facing Bullying & Discrimination – Tuesday February 23rd at 1:30pm

Join Aleya Trott – Executive Director of West End Community Policing Centre to learn what to do when faced with bullying and discrimination. To register, please contact Stephanie at 604-683-2554 or email stephanie@gordonhouse.org