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Art&Seek Jr: Happy Chinese New Year! It’s The Year Of The Horse, Y’all!

by Therese Powell 28 Jan 2014 3:46 PM

Gallop into the Year of the Horse with these Chinese New Year activities.


Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

Ever wonder why animals are part of the Chinese zodiac? A quick Google search will tell you that it was all our pal Buddha’s doing. According to legend, Buddha called all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came. Buddha named a year after each one and then proclaimed that people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in horse years are said to be ingenious, gregarious, outgoing, kind and popular. In short, they love the spotlight. The bad news is, they are also said to be hot blooded and rarely listen to advice.

The Chinese New Year festivities generally start with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and end on the full moon 15 days later. Activities commemorating the celebration have already started in our neck of the woods and will run through the middle of the month. Here are a few events to help you gallop into the year of the horse with gusto!

Feed the lion a red envelope--don't worry, he doesn't bite. (Photo: Crow Collection of Asian Art)

Feed the lion a red envelope–don’t worry, he doesn’t bite. (Photo: Crow Collection of Asian Art)

One of the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations in our area will take place this Saturday from 10 to 6 at the Crow Collection of Asian Art. The Crow is pulling out all the stops in their annual Chinese New Year festival that will happen smack dab in the middle of the Arts District on Flora Street.  Highlights of this horse-themed extravaganza include art activities for the kiddos, fireworks, a fortune-telling Truth Booth, and mini horses to ooh and ah over. There will also be dance performances every half hour, like the Lion and Dragon dances. The Lion dance is a lot of fun because kids can “feed” the lion red envelopes as he works the crowd after the dance. The envelopes contain a dollar or two and are gifts to the dancers for a job well done.  Lastly, what Dallas festival would be complete without food? There will expanded food service this year’s Chinese New Year festival where you can sample everything from Hot Chocolate to  Sake and (of course) there will also be food trucks lined up and down Harwood ready to fill hungry tummies with food truck goodness.  This is a popular event, so be sure to get there early as the crowd is expected to surpass 10,000.

If you’re looking for a more serene setting to ring in the Chinese New Year, there’s no better place than the Chinese Lantern Festival at Fair Park. Originally scheduled as an attraction for the State Fair, organizers have extended the run of the popular display twice now and for good reason. My family and I went right before the holidays and it really is spectacular. It’s like a walk through a neon forest as you explore 24 different colorful scenes around the lagoon area. There’s a 300 foot Imperial Dragon Boat that’s big enough to welcome passengers aboard, a Porcelain Pagoda temple made of 68,000 pieces of porcelain dish ware, and a cast of monkeys, pandas, and giant tulips around every bend. Make time to stop by artisan market before you leave. You can watch folk artists weave palm leaves into cute little creatures, or write your name in Chinese characters. You have until Feb. 17 to see the explosions of color.

UTD is welcoming the Year of the Horse with their own Chinese New Year Festival . You and kiddos can take in the art, demonstrations of regional customs and traditions, and experience song and dance performances from both local and national groups. It all happens Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Alexander Clark Center on the UTD campus.

Happy New Year, y’all!

Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer.  She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 8-year-old daughter, Rose.  Tell us about your quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at [email protected].