the perk of living in America’s most diverse city is that Houstonians get more variety on everything—cuisine, art, fashion and international celebrations. This January 28 marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year, but widely celebrated in other Asian countries as well as around the world. This Lunar New Year is bringing two weekends worth of festivities, food and entertainment to the Bayou City. Here's our top five picks to ring in the Year of the Rooster.
Chinese Community Center Lunar New Year Festival
Saturday, Jan 28 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m
Hosted by Houston's Chinese Community Center, the organization offers an immersive introduction to the diverse Asian community in the Bayou City. Join 12,000 visitors and marvel at traditional performances by Polynesian dancers, magical face-changing Chinese Opera, as well as an unconventional mariachi band perform Chinese songs. When you are not busy checking out the calligraphy and origami demonstrations, indulge yourself with authentic Chinese street food, Afghan kebabs and Korean fried chicken.
Don't Skip: The raffle tickets. For $5, you buy a chance to win anything from tickets to the Houston Symphony, gift cards for Azuma Sushi or even a cruise trip for two.
Chinese Community Center, 9800 Town Park Dr. ccchouston.org/lunarnewyear
MFAH's Lunar New Year Celebration
Saturday, Jan 28 from 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Looking for a crash course on Chinese culture? The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has the perfect event for you. Catch the last day of renowned exhibit, Emperors’ Treasures: Chinese Art from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, with the 30-minute guided tour that explains everything from empress portraits to ornamental vases. After lingering among these gems, create your own paper lanterns, practice calligraphy and decorate fortune cookies.
What to Watch: The North America Youth Chinese Orchestra performing at 11:30 a.m.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet St. mfah.org
Family Day at Asia Society's Lunar New Year Celebration
Saturday, Jan 28 from 1 p.m.—4 p.m.
The Asia Society offers young and young-at-heart Houstonians opportunities to get crafty, whether it's cutting historic Chinese patterns, making the traditional gift of red envelopes, designing rooster banners or creating kimono-style greeting cards. Curious how the rooster is rooted in history? Get lost in a story about the 12 zodiac animals while munching on sweet treats from a mochi cart.
Best Bits: The Muiishi Makirritos food truck wraps all your favorite Japanese-Korean-Mexican flavors into sushi rolls, while D’Lish Curbside Bistro serves traditional burgers, loaded fries and pita tacos.
Asia Society Education Center, 1370 Southmore Blvd. asiasociety.org
Texas Lunar Fest
Saturday, Feb 4 from 10 a.m.—5 p.m.
The 21st Texas Lunar Fest is bigger and better than ever. Mingle with visitors from across Texas amid the festive lion and dragon dance that's performed by Shaolin monk students. Get ready to move, as the dancing tour takes participants around the world and features Taichi, Peking Opera, Mexican Folkloric ballet, Brazilian samba, hip-hop and ballroom dance.
Highlight: Don't miss the International Shaolin Wushu Center perform Kung Fu, especially if you've never seen the Hou Quan, also known as the monkey fist.
Southern News Group, 11122 Bellaire Blvd. texaslunarfest.net
Viet Hoa Center's Lunar New Year Houston
Saturday and Sunday, February 4–5 from 10:30 a.m.—6 p.m.
What’s better than a lion dance performance for Chinese New Year? Eleven of them! In addition to hourly firecrackers and lion dances from multiple groups, attendees can also enjoy both Chinese and Vietnamese martial arts showcases (in case you didn’t know, the latter is called Vivonam). To satisfy your dim sum and boba cravings, the organizer has also put together a list of their volunteers’ favorite nearby places to eat.
Dress to Impress: Prizes are awarded to the best traditional fashions. And don't miss the Sparkling Faces’ booth to spice up your look.
Viet Hoa Center at Beltway 8 Plaza, 8388 W. Sam Houston Parkway South. lunarnewyearhouston.com