Welcome the year of the ox with an at-home experience with the International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) and participating community partners celebrating Lunar New Year.
The IMAS has opened a call to the community for video submissions contributing to its virtual Lunar New Year celebration. Visit theimasonline.org to submit a short video of a musical performance, cultural dance, or recorded testimonial of how you celebrate Lunar New Year by February 6.
On Friday, February 12, the community is invited for a special story time with librarians from McAllen Public Library Lark Branch and a Lunar New Year celebration video premiering at 3 p.m. on the IMAS Facebook page. The video will include a look into previous Lunar New Year festivals at the IMAS, the Korean light sculpture exhibit, Taiwanese videos and community submissions.
Register for a celebration bag that includes activities for the family to share and learn about Lunar New Year together. These free kits are available in limited supply (registration opened February 1) via online at theimasonline.org/ or by phone at (956) 681-2800. Pickup for the celebration bags is at the museum on Saturday, February 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. via curbside.
The IMAS is once again hosting special giant light sculptures on museum grounds for visitors to view now through the month of February. The City of Jinju, South Korea, has loaned these sculptures to the IMAS following their special appearances in the McAllen Holiday Parade in 2019 and at the McAllen Convention Center in 2020. This collaboration bridges both communities through festivals and cultural events such as the Lunar New Year celebration.
Each year, the IMAS hosts a Lunar New Year event which celebrates the rich traditions of Asian cultures, alongside the support from several Asian organizations in the Rio Grande Valley. While the Gregorian calendar that is used in the United States is based on the solar year, the calendar used in most Asian countries, including China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, and Tibet, is based on the phases of the moon. Lunar New Year begins on February 12, with the first new moon of the lunar calendar, and will end on the first full moon fifteen days later. The yearly festival celebrates the coming of spring, and each year is represented by an animal from the Chinese zodiac. This year, the calendar started at the beginning making 2021 the Year of the Ox.
“I am thankful for the community efforts we’ve received, particularly from the Chinese American Association. They donated items for the celebration bags, including face masks from Taiwan. Without the support of the local Asian community, it would not be possible for us to host such a rich and educational cultural event. The McAllen Public Library has been generous in their support to help us reach IMAS audiences virtually this year,” states IMAS Director of Education, Claudia Martinez Gray.
The museum is located at the intersection of Bicentennial Way and Nolana Avenue at 1900 W. Nolana in McAllen, Texas. Modified hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. are reserved for visitors with sensory sensitivities. Current admission is $1. Please check the website www.theimasonline.org or call (956) 681-2800 for more information.
Photo: Visitors at the annual IMAS Lunar New Year Festival enjoy learning about the cultural practices that occur during the two-week long celebration.