Lunar New Year Festival at IMAS on Sunday, Feb. 9

by IMAS | Feb 06, 2014

Celebrate the Lunar New Year and the official start of the Year of the Horse with a number of cultural activities hosted by the International Museum of Art and Science (IMAS) on Sunday, February 9, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Now in its second year, the event seeks to highlight the rich diversity of the Rio Grande Valley’s Asian community and allows visitors of all ages to enjoy a number of traditional activities and customs that are celebrated throughout Asia during the Lunar New Year.

Unlike the solar year in which our current Gregorian calendar is based, the Lunar New Year comes from the start of the new lunisolar year, which is based on the year’s moon phases and used by most Asian countries. Typically, the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan and Vietnamese New Year occur on or near the same date and include a number of activities ranging from colorful dance exhibitions to storytelling to hanging calligraphy, charms and handwritten wishes for the year ahead.

This year’s lineup of events will offer visitors many of the same activities with traditional Chinese arts and crafts for children, New Year’s music and video of Lunar New Year festivities. Guests can also learn the ancient art of origami with Fumiko Hoki, experience a Chinese tea tasting and presentation with hosts George and Virginia Gause and Mei Yu or learn the basics of Chinese calligraphy with Mr. Xuehong Ding.

Of course, it would hardly be a celebration without some delicious sustenance. That’s why attendees will have the chance to make their own Jiǎozi, or Asian dumplings, and sample array of typical Asian New Year’s dishes and vote for their favorites when IMAS pits area Chinese chefs together for a food tasting competition. The celebration will finish off with a traditional Chinese dance exhibition featuring the award-winning Mary Shingler and her students, who will also offer information and insight about each dance between performances. During this time, visitors will be invited to participate in a museum-wide procession during a dragon blessing which is believed to bring luck and prosperity for the New Year. Admission to the Lunar New Year Celebration is included in the price of general admission and is free for IMAS Members.

IMAS would like to extend its sincerest thanks to Mary Shingler, the Rio Grande Valley Chinese American Association and the UTPA Chinese Students and Scholars Association for their support and partnership in the planning of this event.