29th Annual Asian Festival: Year of the Monkey

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There’s a lot to experience at the Asian Festival, one of the city’s favorite events. For 2016, it’s set for Feb. 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures. Sure, the food is fabulous and the entertainment is top-notch, but for those who haven’t been to the event, there’s an atmosphere of goodwill that you don’t always see in other places.

Our city has institutions and events that let us experience the customs of different cultures and gain an appreciation for our neighbors. So when we see culture come to life and people who dance in classical Asian styles, or cook authentic dishes, or practice skills like Tai Chi Chuan, we can see the love they have for their culture and we can be thankful they care enough about it to share it with the rest of us. This is culture and it will be happening right in front of you.

The festival is a great opportunity to experience culture for yourself, or if you’re a parent, bring your children and show them at a young age what a special place we live in, and how great our neighbors are: the Chinese, the Vietnamese, the Filipinos, the Koreans and others.

Asian Festival is inclusive, not just in principle, but in practice. Asia has a great diversity of its own. As the event grew over the past 29 years here in San Antonio, it expanded to incorporate other Asian cultures, so it’s more than just a Chinese New Year celebration. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are represented, offering their unique foods, entertainment, costuming and more. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia have joined the festival with their unique customs and heritage. We see the island nations of the Pacific, including the Philippines and the Polynesian nations.

While food, music and dance can give a sample of what these cultures are like, some in-depth lectures will offer a real insight on some of the defining elements of Asian societies: Japanese myths and superstitions, Chinese medicine, meditation, history. We’ll also get an insight into our own culture, with a lecture following the Year of the Monkey theme: the role of monkeys as the unsung heroes of medicine.

There’s fashion, gaming, bonsai, Ikebana flower arrangement, animé, Mah-jongg games and so much more packed into a one unforgettable day. There are people proud of their heritage and happy to share it with you.

Get the details and tickets at TexanCultures.com and catch the VIA Park & Ride from Crossroads. Come see one of the great events that makes San Antonio what it is. As we say at the museum, “Find yourself here!”

$5-10, February 13, Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. César Chávez Blvd., (210) 458-2300, texancultures.com 


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