February 01, 2006

Gung Haggis Fat Choy

(Image from roland's flickr set)

A honest to goodness Vancouver tradition that originated in Simon Fraser University. The annual celebration of Scottish and Chinese culture: Gung Haggis Fat Choy.

Taken from the official web site for Gung Haggis Fat Choy here's a slightly edited version of the history of this annual holiday celebration (only celebrated in Vancouver, as far as I can tell):

It was on Burnaby Mountain, at Simon Fraser University that mild-mannered psychology student and SFU tour guide, Todd Wong was asked to help out with the University's annual Robbie Burns celebrations. ... Wong was befuddled with the idea of a Chinese guy (him) wearing a Scottish kilt and having to show his bare knees out in the snow.

... the Chinese Lunar New Year fell on January 27th only two days away from Robbie Burns Day, which is always January 25th in celebration of the Scottish Bard's birthday. "Gung Haggis Fat Choy!" said Wong, "I can celebrate two cultures at the same time."

Flash forward to 1998, and Wong was putting together a Chinese New Year Dinner party for about 12 friends. Lo and Behold, the Lunar New Year again fell two days away from January 25th, Robbie Burns Day. Dinner plans were quickly made to incorporate both Chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Day traditions as Wong scurried off to the Vancouver Public Library to research Robbie Burns Day and discover Scottish songs for himself to play on his accordion.

A dinner of 16 in a friend's living room was the setting for the first Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner hosted by Toddish McWong, along with co-host Gloria Smyth. Todd cooked and organized most of the dishes. Gloria hired the bagpiper. They invited their friends. Fiona brought a haggis. Margot toasted the lads and lassies.

Posted by anoop at 11:29 PM