Friday, August 5 2022

Three-year-old Zane Alvarado watched intently as volunteer Erica Andelson describe the history of the Lunar New Year celebration and the cultural lion dance.

Before Andelson could finish asking for volunteers, Alvarado rushed to the field behind the Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures and gave the lion dance his best.

Dressed in a colorful lion’s head, he recreated the dance by stomping and shaking his head in the hot sun to ward off evil spirits.

“I felt very strong,” Alvarado said.

The lion dance demonstration was one of many activities organized by the museum on Saturday in honor of the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated for 15 days.

“This holiday is important because it helps broaden your horizons,” Andelson said. “In Chinese culture, every legend has a lesson to learn.”

Andelson, who led the Lion Dance on her own for the first time, was touched by the community’s interest in this year’s “Year of the Tiger”.

“I’m half Chinese, so that’s basically my culture,” Andelson said. “It makes me happy. I feel like I’m learning more about myself and my ancestors. I’m slowly spreading my culture.”

Attendees spent the day immersing themselves in activities such as origami lessons and folkloric readings.

Ted Gonzalez holds an origami swan at the Museum of Asian Cultures, located at 1809 N. Chaparral St., Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, ahead of a Saturday Lunar New Year event.

“We’re hosting this celebration for Americans who wouldn’t have the chance to learn about the holiday otherwise,” said Richard Hafemeister, the museum’s director of operations.

The museum’s annual celebration has been suspended in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A year later, staff were thrilled to bring their celebration back to the community.

“It’s a great thing for everyone in the community to have this stuff coming out of both the COVID issues and the anti-Asian sentiments that have been rampant since the pandemic started,” Hafemeister said. .

The museum is set to host a series of events throughout the 15-day vacation. To learn more, visit https://www.texasasianculturesmuseum.org/.

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Christopher Howley covers entertainment and community news in South Texas. Support more coverage like this at Caller.com/subscribe.

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