Special Events

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster in 2017

January 28 marks the start of the lunar new year, the year of the Fire Rooster.
January 28 marks the start of the lunar new year, the year of the Fire Rooster. Photo by Cuc Lam

The year of the Fire Rooster is upon us! The Lunar New Year begins on January 28 and more than 100,000 Chinese- and Vietnamese-Americans in Houston will be ringing in the holiday with family, traditional foods and special events all over the city.

To celebrate, families gather in homes and restaurants to share meals, give red envelopes filled with lucky money (li xi), light firecrackers and wear bright new clothes, particularly the color red. Before the start of the lunar new year, each household cleans, sweeping out all of the past year's luck and readying the home to receive friends and guests who bring well wishes for a prosperous coming year.

click to enlarge Lion Dancers perform at new and existing businesses to pray for good luck and prosperity for the new year. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PHO & CRAB RESTAURANT
Lion Dancers perform at new and existing businesses to pray for good luck and prosperity for the new year.
Photo courtesy of Pho & Crab Restaurant

Local businesses, old and new, usually host a Lion Dance to honor the coming year's fortune. Before lions existed in China, they were regarded as mythical creatures, similar to dragons. When the Silk Road trade opened around 130 BC, a few lions started appearing and the village people would perform dances mimicking the actions and appearance of the majestic creatures. The dance became synonymous with holidays like the lunar new year and spring festival. It is a chance to pray for good luck.

Here are a few events happening in Houston this Lunar New Year. Free Admission for all ages.

Roostar Vietnamese Grill, 1411 Gessner, suite I
Saturday, January 28 at 3:00 p.m.
Performance by Vien Thong Tu's Girls Lion Dance Team + Matthew

Hughie's Tavern & Vietnamese Grille, 1802 West 18th
Saturday, February 4 at 3 p.m.
Enjoy Pho Specials, served with sliced filet mignon, homemade bo vien (beef meatballs), 20-hour slow-cooked brisket or Pho Ga with or without broth.

Viet Hoa Center at Beltway 8 Plaza, 8388 West Sam Houston Parkway South
Saturday and Sunday, February 4-5 from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Several Lion Dance Performances throughout the day, check the website for program information.

Lucky Land, 8625 Airline Drive
Saturday, January 21 at 2 p.m. and January 27 and 28, check on Facebook for more details to come.
Kung Fu exhibition and Lion Dance

Chinese Community Center, 9800 Town Park
Saturday, January 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
20 unique cultural performances from China, Vietnam, Korea and India
Asian bazaar with more than a dozen Asian street-style foods and Asian arts and crafts
Asian cultural exhibits and workshops as well as games, raffles and face paintings for kids

The Cajun Stop, 2130 Jefferson and 24230 Kuykendahl Road, Suite 250
Owner Lisa Carnley hands out hundreds of lucky money envelopes (li xi) to customers visiting her stores from now until January 28. In the past, prizes inside the envelopes included free food, gift cards and a Super Bowl catered party for 20 people (either in the restaurant or at a private space).

Pho & Crab Restaurant, 11660 Westheimer, Suite 129
Saturday, January 28 at 3:30 p.m.
Performance by Lien Hoa Dance Group

Hong Kong Food Street, 9750 Bellaire, Suite 100
Saturday, February 4 at 4:30 p.m.
Performance by Lend A Hand Vietnamese Youth Organization

Kim Son, 2001 Jefferson - Downtown
Friday, January 27 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 28 at 8 p.m.

Kim Son, 10603 Bellaire - Chinatown
Saturday, January 28 at noon and 7 p.m.
Sunday, January 29 at 12:30 p.m. (Big Show)

Kim Son, 12750 Southwest Freeway - Sugar Land
Saturday, January 28 at noon and 8 p.m.
Sunday, January 29 at 1 p.m.

Kim Son Cafe, 12311 Kingsride - Memorial
Friday, January 27 at 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 28 at 7 p.m.
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Cuc Lam is a freelance food writer for the Houston Press and local pop-up chef. She enjoys teaching cooking classes and hosting dinner parties when she is not writing.