Dragon Dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese Culture. Courtesy of ITC

Year of the dog and its prosperous wealth, or “Wàng Cái,” is ushered in by the Institute of Texan Cultures for this year’s Asian Festival.

 

Each year, the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC) hosts its annual Asian Festival in celebration of the Chinese New Year.

The Chinese New Year falls between Jan 21. and Feb. 20 each year. This year, the Chinese New Year begins on Feb. 16 and marks the beginning of two weeks of celebrations and festivities.

This year on Feb. 17 the UTSA ITC will host its 30th annual edition of Asian Festival in honor of the 2018 Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dog, and the diverse cultures of people from the Asian continent, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

The Chinese Zodiac honors a different animal each year on a twelve year cycle. The last year that honored the dog was 2006 and the next Year of the Dog will be 2030. 2018 is the first ever year of the earth dog.

According to Chinese astrology, the Year of the Earth Dog signals a shift away from self and people will gravitate toward causes and goals that resonate beyond the self.

The event is expected to include fun and family friendly interactive activities such as henna painting and palm reading.

Mah jongg, a traditional Chinese game, will be present at the fest. Courtesy of ITC

 

Additionally, the 2018 Asian Festival will feature food, music and dance originating from a diverse array of locations including Bangladesh, China, Hawaii, Laos, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

ITC Director of Special Events JoAnn Andera, says that a sampling of food items visitors can expect to enjoy at Asian Festival 2018 include:

“Takorea with Korean-Tex-Mex fusion, stir fry, bubble tea, noodle dishes, curry, samosas and adobo,” and that some of her favorite things from last year included:

“Lion Dancers, Korean drummers, martial arts performances and some of the subtler things like Ikebana and Bonsai.”

In addition to providing family entertainment, education and food, the festival offers an opportunity for UTSA students and San Antonians members to contribute to their community through volunteer service at a diversity inspired event.

According to the Volunteer Coordinator at the ITC, Jasmine Gonzales, the ITC, itself a UTSA campus, employs over 500 volunteers between the Asian Festival in February and the Texas Folklife Festival in June.

This year, 200-300 volunteers at the Asian Festival will take on tasks such as: “greeting visitors, helping in the children’s area, first aid, taking tickets at the gates [and] passing out brochures to volunteers,” Gonzales said.

Andera commented that:

“Strong community relationships have kept volunteers coming back and wonderful partners have committed their corporate volunteer corps and community service units to the effort.  UTSA student and staff support for the Asian Festival is appreciated.”

Although the deadline for volunteer applications has passed and the 2018 Asian Festival is no longer accepting applications, the ITC staff encourages students to apply to fill one of the over 200 volunteer positions available in June for ITC’s Texas Folklife Festival:

“Texas Folklife Festival is the next big opportunity, and there’s always the opportunity to become a docent with the museum for year round activities,” Andera said.

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