Langara students celebrate the year of the snake, not the Chinese zodiac

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Students Joann Lam and Gigi Tsui don’t believe they possess many qualities of their birth animal, the snake. Photo by Hailey McDonald
Students Joann Lam and Gigi Tsui don’t believe they possess many qualities of their birth animal, the snake. Photo by Hailey McDonald

This year marks the year of the snake in Chinese culture and is said to be the wisest of all signs.

The snake is the sixth sign of the Chinese zodiac and those born under it in 1989 are said to be materialistic, hard-working, cunning, seductive and clever.

However, some Langara students born under the year of the snake say they’re not as attached to their birth sign as their elders may be.

Astrology still popular in China

“I personally don’t really follow it. But I have relatives in Hong Kong that do.” said Gigi Tsui, fourth year bachelor of business administration student and Chinese immigrant.

Tsui, who moved to Canada in 1996 from Hong Kong said that spending time with her family during Chinese New Year is more important than the traditional customs that her elders practice.

Fellow snake and bachelor of business administration student, Joann Lam, who emigrated from China in 1994, echoed the sentiment.

“I think people here don’t tend to look at it too much,” she said. “All these simple traditions that we sort of know that are passed down through generations that are more detailed or more strict, we don’t know about.”

Year of the snake celebration in Vancouver

Chinatown’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden has included a 12-metre serpent replica, constructed of willow by Hornby Island artist, Alastair Heseltin, as part of their Chinese New Year – Year of the Snake Temple Fair celebration.

“Normally, the snakes are considered quite full of wisdom and very charming,” said Kathy Gibler, executive director of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden. “They’re great partners because they’re kinda romantic”

Former Langara student and current UBC student Eli Zbar said that, while he doesn’t take astrology seriously, he could empathize with some of his Chinese zodiac characteristics.

While he considers himself hard-working and wise, he admits that he’s a little cunning.

Celebrities born under the year of the snake include Jacqueline Onassis, John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Taylor Swift and Charlie Sheen.

Snakes include those born in 1965, 1977, 1989 and 2001.

Chinese New Year occurs on Feb. 10, while Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden’s Temple Fair takes place on Feb. 17.

Reported by Hailey McDonald

Watch: Chinese New Years Parade in Vancouver

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