Dog Days

For the record, let's just set one thing straight: Chinese New Year rocks. It very well could be the best holiday in the world. It lasts 14 days longer than Christmas, it's more than a week longer than Hanukkah and Halloween's got nothing on six guys doing acrobatic dances in a dragon costume.

As far back as I can remember, Tet (Vietnamese New Year, essentially the same celebration) was always a big deal in our house. Mom and her friends would make a feast to beat all feasts, complete with dozens of beautifully plated dishes of exotic foods. After we burned incense and waited patiently for our ancestors to eat what they wanted (though I never noticed any bites missing from their bowls), we would sit down and enjoy our share of the meal. But the holiday wasn't just about New Year's Eve cuisine. After all, it's everyone's birthday (just trust me on this one), so there were also candied treats (my favorite has always been the pink, white and green coconut strips) to satisfy one's sweet tooth, little red envelopes stuffed with crisp new two-dollar bills to pad piggy banks and, of course, plenty of celebration.

Speaking of celebration, the Dallas metroplex Asian community can throw a party like no other. Though we can't take the two weeks off from work that we should to usher in the New Year, we can all take part in a day of relaxing fun, regardless of your ancestry. In the tradition of past New Years, this year's festivities will include traditional food and drink, plenty of games for the whole family, live music and several art (martial and other) demonstrations. And don't forget to stay for the dragon parade and lion dance at 4 p.m.—everybody should see this magical spectacle at least once in their lifetime.

Ring in the Year of the Dog as The Crow Collection of Asian Art and the Association of Chinese Professionals of Dallas-Fort Worth celebrate Chinese New Year with a free festival in the Arts District from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Harwood, Olive and Flora streets will be closed for the festivities, and the dragon parade and lion dance will begin on Flora Street. Admission is free. Call 214-271-4480 or visit
Sun., Jan. 29, 12-5 p.m.

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Jennifer Medina