Houston's Asian Population Ready To Celebrate New Year

The Lunar New Year begins this Sunday. It will be the year of the snake.

“This year is actually a water snake year, so they say the color that’s attached to the water snake year is black and so this is supposed to be a really good year for businessmen.”

That’s Ka Man from the Chinese Community Center located in the heart of Houston’s Chinatown area, near the corner of the Westpark Tollway and Beltway 8. She says this year the water will flow, which means the money will flow more easily. But beware of mischievous businessmen.

“They say if you’re starting new business dealsor you’re making any changes to really look into details and to not just jump into it because this is the year where good things can happen to you, but only if you know what you’re getting into.”

The Chinese Community Center is one of several venues for this month’s lunar new year celebrations throughout Houston. On Saturday, New Year ’s Eve if you will, the center expects between 10,000 and 12,000 visitors.

The Chinese new year is based on the lunar calendar and follows similar traditions as those of other Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Japan and Korea. Those countries all have their versions of lunar new year celebrations.

“There’s a monster called Nian. Nian is a monster that kind of came during the transition for the new year. And so the Chinese figured out that Nian the monster did not like bright colors, did not like the color red.”

Which explains the colorful clothes and decorations used during Asian new year celebrations. The Chinese Community Center will have dragon and lion dances and performances from other Asian cultures, even a Mexican mariachi band that will sing in Chinese. And there will be lots of Asian food.

“Food is one of the more important things for our culture. That’s kind of how we enjoy each other and our time, so being able to share our food is one of the biggest things and food has a lot of symbolism for us.”

Ka says Houston’s lunar new year celebrations are not as big as those in cities with higher Asian populations such as San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than a 125,000 Houstonians are of Asian origin.

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