Here's how you can celebrate the Year of the Tiger in Austin
Starting this weekend, it’s time to rise up, get back on the street (safely, of course) and be your fiercest self because it’s the Year of the Tiger and the start of the Lunar New Year.
The holiday, which starts Tuesday, is often called the Chinese New Year, but it is celebrated by a number of Asian countries and cultures, with nearly a quarter of the world’s population observing the Lunar New Year in some way.
The tiger is the third of the 12 Chinese zodiac animal symbols. People who were born in the Year of the Tiger are said to be brave, confident and rebellious. The Chinese zodiac animals also cycle through five elements of water, earth, fire, wood and gold. This year is the year of the water tiger; people born during it are said to have high self-esteem, the ability to learn quickly and good social skills, according to China Highlights.
The holiday is traditionally celebrated for 16 days starting on the eve of the holiday and ending on the 15th day of the new lunar month. The holiday symbolizes the beginning of spring.
Typical celebrations include lion dances, decorations, fireworks — the Lunar New Year is one of the biggest firework celebrations in the world. It ends with a lantern festival. The color red is used for Chinese celebrations as it symbolizes good luck; billions of people pass out red cards. Foods such as dumplings, which symbolize wealth, are traditionally eaten during celebrations.
A number of events to celebrate the Lunar New Year are taking place throughout Austin this year. Here are some to check out:
Try a new limited-edition beer, shop at the flea market and watch a lion dance at Austin Beerworks on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. All proceeds from the event go to Stop AAPI Hate. While it is free to get in, there are a limited number of spots, so you’ll need to RSVP. A $5 donation to Stop AAPI Hate also gets you a free beer token.
Wu Chow Year of the Tiger Celebration
Enjoy appetizers, cocktails and lion dancers on Monday from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Wu Chow Chinese restaurant in downtown Austin. The event is free, but a donation to APA! is recommended. Although the event is sold out, the restaurants said it will accept some walk-ins.
UMLAUF After Dark Year of the Tiger
The UMLAUF sculpture garden’s bimonthly After Dark event will celebrate the Year of the Tiger on Tuesday with a traditional Korean dance, a Lion dance, food and more. The event is free for UMLAUF members and $12 for the public. Doors open at 5 p.m. for members and at 6 p.m. for everyone else. The event ends at 8 p.m.
If you don’t feel like leaving your home, the Austin Performing Arts Group is putting on a free virtual show on its YouTube page Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Check out this local dessert shop’s Lunar New Year celebration on Feb. 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with vendors, music and free drinks.
East Austin Festival
The Paper + Craft Pantry and Kathy Phantastic are hosting what they're calling the first Lunar New Year festival in East Austin on Feb. 6 from 12 to 4 p.m. The event will feature a lion dance and vendors of Asian descent. The event benefits the Asian Family Support Services of Austin. Surgical masks are required to attend, and other COVID-19 precautions will be followed.