The roar of the dragon was heard as Alexandria ushered in the Year of the Dragon with a Lunar New Year festival Feb. 4 at the Atrium in Old Town.
In 2024, the Lunar New Year will be celebrated Feb. 10, closing out the previous Year of the Rabbit. Also known as the Spring Festival, the holiday celebrates the beginning of a new year based on the lunar calendar. The holiday is typically celebrated for the first 15 days of the lunar calendar. During this time it is traditional to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. The highlight of the Spring Festival is the Lantern Festival, which happens on the 15th and final day which will be Feb. 24.
Now in its second year, the Old Town festival brought together local Asian American vendors and featured performances and cuisine celebrating Asian American culture.
Dancers with the Jow Ga Shaolin Institute performed the traditional Lac Viet Dragon Dance. Members of the Nha Viet Nam Kiddie group performed a modern Vietnamese dance and students with Kha’s Karate School demonstrated Vietnamese martial arts.
Students from the Selahart Institute were among the entertainers, performing on traditional Korean string instruments, demonstrating modeumbuki, or traditional Korean drumming, and performing the traditional Korean puppet dance of kkokdukaksi.
House of Indonesia with Bali Jegeg showcased various traditional Indonesian dances.
The festival also included craft activities, face painting featuring Chinese zodiac animals, and a photography station with Vietnamese traditional clothes. A Lunar New Year Market showcased local small businesses.