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Texas cities play host to Chinese festivities

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-01-20 08:04

Texas, the second most populous US state, is embracing Lunar New Year celebrations, which are popping up more fabulously than ever before, in places ranging from public libraries to children's museums, local bars and Asian restaurants in both big cities and some small towns.

Post Houston, a downtown entertainment and cultural hub in the state's largest city, hosted a massive Lunar New Year festival on Sunday with eye-catching performances, a carnival-like Asian pop-up market featuring food vendors, games, crafts and other cultural activities, as well as a grand party in the night.

Lion and dragon dances, accompanied by the booming, rhythmic beating of drums and gongs, whipped up a festive atmosphere, gaining rapturous applause and cheers from a crowd of more than 1,000 spectators.

"It was beautiful … Everyone's getting so excited. My daughter especially loves to see that," Courtney Brooks, a full-time mother wearing a gorgeous traditional Chinese dress, said after watching the performance. "We've never seen that or been around that, so it was a great experience for us."

Across the state, a variety of celebrations to welcome the Year of the Rabbit will last for up to two weeks.

In Chinatown, the Houston Chinese Community Center invited all to join their 2023 Lunar New Year Festival on Saturday. The free, family-orientated outdoor event includes exciting cultural performances and delicious food, inspired by Lunar New Year traditions across Asia.

For Dallas and Fort Worth residents, the Asia Times Square Development, one of the largest Asian markets in Texas, is ready to fuel a festival of fun with treats, including lion and dragon dances, cosplay contests, children's activities, culinary offerings, as well as a firecracker show on the coming weekend.

On select nights over the coming two weeks, a boat parade carrying lanterns in the shapes of animals of the Chinese zodiac will float along San Antonio's famed River Walk attraction.

In the state capital, Austin Public Library will run educational activity stations with Chinese cultural themes on Saturday, ringing in the Year of the Rabbit.

The Lone Star state "has never really gone all out for the celebrated Chinese festival, not like people over on the West Coast.But thankfully, times are changing," said a recent report from the Thrillist, a US online media website covering food, drink, travel and entertainment.

In recent years, Texans have seen more festivities take place in the big cities and, now, even the smaller towns have at least some kind of "red and gold" decorations, the report observed.

"We didn't have a lot of that in the past in Houston, drawing people in from many backgrounds," said Brooks. "It's a great representation of the culture … It's just a great way for people to accept it, respect it, and also embrace it."

Getting into the spirit of Lunar New Year, the woman said her hope for the Year of the Rabbit is "health, happiness, prosperity and peace for everyone, and equality for everybody and every culture. It's what everybody deserves to have in this world, in America and everywhere."

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