The Ancestral Ceremony

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Lion heads

On Sunday, June 9th, I went to Chinatown to watch The Ancestral Ceremony. It’s an annual event held by the Montreal Chinese Association to honor our ancestors who came to Canada from China to build the Canadian Pacific Railway. After the railway was built, some of these men settled down in Montreal, creating what we now know as Chinatown.

The hour long ceremony was held in Sun Yat Sen Park. It started with the Lion Dance to wake up the spirits of the ancestors. Dancers dressed in colorful, shimmering lion costumes danced to the beat of cymbals, a gong and a drum that was loud enough to…well,…wake up the dead. After the  ceremony was over, local talent comprising of Chinese musicians, dancers and singers of all ages entertained the crowd. I only took a few photos, but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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Offerings on the makeshift altar include a whole roasted pig. The urn is used to burn incense. Paper money is burned in a separate container.

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There is a feeding frenzy as the lions prepare to eat the red envelopes and lettuce dangling from the poles.

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A crowd gathers in Sun Yat Sen Park to watch the ceremony.

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Leaders of the Montreal Chinese Community stand before the altar as offerings are made to the ancestors.

I was invited to attend the Association’s closing banquet at Kam Fung Restaurant that evening. It was a delicious ten course meal that included fish ball soup, deep fried sea food rolls, beef with chinese vegetables, fried rice and noodles. To tempt your curiosity and taste buds, below are photos of some of the other dishes. In all, it was a good day.

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Tofu and baby bok choy

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Ginger lobster

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Steamed chicken, very tender and moist

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War Siu Guy, a delicious combination of chicken and shrimp. My favorite!

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Steamed fish

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