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Charlie Wu of Lunarfest Celebrates the Year of the Tiger Ep 167

By Felicia Lin

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:

This year, the Lunar New Year falls on February 1st and it’s the year of the tiger. For those of you familiar with Lunar New year celebrations, you may recall some of the traditions, which might include: wearing the color red, receiving or giving red envelopes, eating special foods, lion dances and firecrackers

My guest on this episode of Talking Taiwan is not going to talk about any of that. Charlie Wu is the Managing Director of the Asian-Canadian Special Events Association, which organizes Taiwanfest and Lunarfest. The Lunarfest is a twist on celebrating the Lunar New Year, inspired by the Lantern Festival which marks the end of the Lunar New Year celebrations. Charlie talked about how Lunarfest has evolved over the course of a decade and engages with local indigenous communities in Canada.


Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • Charlie’s background and upbringing in Taiwan
  • Charlie’s experience assimilating to life in the U.S.
  • The differences between Canadians and Americans
  • Why he wrote an article about being Taiwanese Canadian, not Chinese Canadian
  • Why Charlie was named one of the top 100 influential Chinese Canadians in B.C.
  • What happened when a group of Chinese Canadians asked Charlie to support their fight against anti-Asian and anti-Chinese racism at the beginning of the pandemic
  • When Lunarfest started and its connection to the 2010 Winter Olympics hosted by Vancouver
  • How Lunarfest is the only legacy event from the 2010 Winter Olympics that has continued until present day
  • How Lunarfest has evolved over time and been able to sustain for a decade
  • The challenges in changing the perception from Chinese New Year to Lunar New Year
  • This year’s Lunarfest events in B.C.
  • How the Lunarfest is different from most traditional Lunar New Year celebrations
  • How Lunarfest has engaged the local community by inviting participation of indigenous people
  • The artists who have created the lanterns for Lunarfest
  • There will be a celebration planned on February 5thand 6th at the —art gallery
  • The Lunarfest installation in association with the Taiwanese Canadian Association of Toronto in Markham
  • The endangered Formosa leopard
  • The Lunarfest’s annual arts and crafts programs for 2000 school-aged kids in the Greater Vancouver Area
  • Past Lunarfest programs and how Lunarfest has changed due to COVID
  • How the Panjabi community is participating in Lunarfest Vancouver
  • Cirque de Soleil’s participation on Lunarfest Vancouver
  • Lunarfest lanterns will be on Granville Island for the first time
  • Indigenous artist Susan Point’s participation in Lunarfest Vancouver
  • How you can participate and see photos of Lunarfest online using the hashtags #lunarfest #lanterncity
  • The Lunarfest lanterns have audio descriptions about the artists accompanied by pipa music in the composition, “Woven Melodies”


Related Links:


The article that Charlie wrote, “Charlie Wu: I’m a Taiwanese Canadian, not a Chinese Canadian”:


Lunarfest Vancouver:


Lunarfest Vancouver Facebook page:


Lunarfest GTA (Greater Toronto Area):


Lunarfest GTA (Greater Toronto Area) Facebook page:


The Lantern City:


Articles about the Lunar New Year in Taiwan (from Outreach for Taiwan):

About the Host

Felicia Lin is the Host and Producer of Talking Taiwan, a podcast which seeks to introduce you to interesting stories connected to Taiwan and the diverse individuals who make up Taiwan’s global community.

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