lion dance
martial art
Top photo: Members of the San Antonio Lion Dance Association
participate in Asian Festival opening ceremonies.
Bottom photo: Demonstration of the Korean martial
art of Kuk Sool Won

Institute of Texan Cultures presents Asian Festival

By James Benavides
Public Affairs Specialist

(Feb. 6, 2008)--UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures will host the 21st annual Asian Festival: The Year of the Rat, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9.

The popular event celebrates the unique histories, stories and foods of cultures from the eastern edge of the Mediterranean to the Pacific islands. Traditionally observed near the Lunar New Year observed in many Asian cultures, the ITC Asian Festival began as a family reunion for the local Asian community.

The Asian Lunar New Year festival will begin with the clashing of cymbals and beating of drums to drive off bad luck. Members of the San Antonio Lion Dance Association in elaborate two-person lion costumes will lead a parade around the festival grounds, followed by the Hula Halau Ohana Elikapeka dance troupe and many colorfully costumed participants.

More than 42 organizations representing countries and cultural groups will present activities including dance, martial arts demonstrations, traditional gaming and delicious food sampling. More than half of the participants have participated in the festival for eight years or more. In 2008, new participants will include a Japanese animé club, an Asian history book dealer and a Japanese shakuhachi musical performer.

The day's activities will include traditional Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Okinawan and Polynesian dance. Various martial arts schools will demonstrate techniques including Iaido, Karate, Kendo, Kuk Sool Won, Kung Fu, Muay Thai and Tai Chi Chuan. Visitors can participate in games including the domino-like mah-jongg.

Admission to the festival is $8; $4 for children, seniors and military with I.D.; and free with UTSACard (enter at main gate).

For more information, visit the Institute of Texan Cultures Web site or call (210) 458-2330.


According to the Chinese zodiac's 12-year cycle, 2008 is the Year of the Rat. Those born in the Year of the Rat (1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 and 2008) are known for their charm. They have big ambitions and work hard to achieve their dreams. Rats are thrifty and tend to be perfectionists.

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