One of my favorite winter adventures was going to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Gardens last year for Winter Solstice. It was very magical. The Garden was lit with candles and Christmas lights – otherwise – you never see the garden at night because of its early closings.
One of the real coolest things they do is to create lanterns for the bare trees. In each lantern are leaves that fell from the trees during autumn… so they are in effect, hanging the leaves back on the trees – with lights! Very Cool!
There was music at the Gardens… Erhu (Chinese violin) player Ji Rong Huang was playing traditional Chinese and Western tunes in the Water Pavillion of the Gardens. I bought two cd's by Ji Rong… I have to love this guy! First of all, his name is Huang (the Mandarin version of Wong), secondly – He played with Harry Connick Jr. one time, when Harry met him by chance at the Horseshoe Bay Ferry terminal and invited Ji Rong to join him onstage at the Orpheum with his band. Third, he plays Western music, and we agreed to get together sometime to do a duet of Hungarian Dance No. 5.
Anyways back to the Garden… and solstice. Check out the link to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens. This is what you will find:
Tuesday, December 21 from 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
An event partnership with the Secret Lantern Society www.secretlantern.org
In China, the winter solstice festival, dong zhi, is a time when friends and family gather together, exchange gifts, and eat, drink, and laugh long into the deep, dark night to mark the rebirth of yang qualities of light and warmth as winter waxes and spring approaches. Enjoy a magical celebration of Dong zhi at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sun Classical Chinese Garden & Public Park as we host the Secret Lantern Society's 11th Annual Winter Solstice Festival for Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside from 6:30 – 10:00pm.
Join a procession from Science World or Strathcona Community Centre at 6:00pm. Then, follow the sea of hand-made lanterns and the compelling rhythms of drummers to our magical Garden come to life at night. Be enchanted by the displays of special hand-made lanterns in the trees and pond; paintings of winter colors by the Oriental Arts Club; music; samples of traditional dong zhi foods such as sweet dumplings and eight treasure soup and demonstrations of traditional folk arts presented by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Vancouver. Free event, but donations appreciated.
Visit the other Winter Solstice venues at Granville Island, the Roundhouse Community Centre, the West End Community Centre, and the Coal Harbour Community Centre.