Robbie Burns Day - Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Gung haggis fat choy!

January 25, 2007

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Burns Day revellers at SFU Burnaby Jan. 25 will get a taste of the national Scottish event with a distinctly Asian flavour, as Gung Haggis Fat Choy returns for its second year.

The unique event, which runs 10:30 am to 2:30 pm in Convocation Mall, with a noon-time break for the traditional ceremonies, is a blend of Robbie Burns Day and Chinese New Year.

Beginning with an introduction to "human curling," the day will be action-packed with a variety of events ranging from dragon-cart races and a haggis-eating competition to performances by the Kung Fu and Celtic Dance clubs.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy is the brainchild of Todd Wong, a former SFU student who in 1993 was asked to help organize the university's usual Burns Day activities and wear a kilt to the celebrations.

Wong thought it odd that a fifth-generation Chinese-Canadian would be asked to wear a traditional Celtic garment and it got him thinking of ways to unite the university's large Asian culture with its Scottish heritage.

He held his first Gung Haggis Fat Choy event in 1998. It was a small dinner party featuring food from both cultures, including haggis—a sheep's stomach stuffed with sheep offal, onion, oatmeal, suet and spices to create a dish only a Scot or a Scottish wannabee could love.

And the rest is history. As Wong told BBC Radio Scotland recently, Gung Haggis Fat Choy (Gung Hay Fat Choy is a Cantonese lunar new year's greeting that means "wishing you prosperity.") has grown. It now includes several large dinners, a dragonboat team, a CBC-TV special and even a First Night music performance during regular New Year's celebrations.

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