, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

February 8, 2013

Buu Mon Temple rings in Year of the Snake Saturday

PORT ARTHUR — As people depart Procter Street late Saturday night as the Mardi Gras festivities start to wind down, Port Arthur’s Buu Mon Buddhist Temple will be rocking just down the street with midnight revelers ready to ring in the Year of the Snake.

Tet, the Vietnamese name for the Lunar New Year Celebration, is the most important holiday in the Vietnamese culture, said April Tran, community relations liaison at the temple. Some celebrate for several days or even two weeks.

The holiday will be celebrated with a midnight mass service at the Buu Mon Buddhist Temple, a performance by the Temple Lion and Dragon dancers and the commemorative picking of red envelopes from a chrysanthemum tree, which symbolizes the passing of prosperity and luck from older generations to the younger, Tran said.

“It’s a tradition we have every year at the temple,” she said.

Tet is the time for new beginnings and letting go of the painful past, Tran said. It is time for starting anew and letting bygones be just that —  bygones. And it is a time to share happiness, peace and love.

The new lunar year begins this year on Feb. 10 — the Year of the Snake. There are 12 animal symbols of the Chinese zodiac, which follows the lunar cycle: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar.

People influenced by this sign were born in the years 1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989 and 2001.

The Lunar New Year falls on a different date each year because it follows a complex calendar system that calculates time according to the schedules of the sun and the moon, according to a Columbia University “Asia for Educators” article.

The midnight celebration will also feature the chanting of blessings and speeches by honored community officials and venerable monks, Tran said.

The Buu Mon Buddhist Temple is located in downtown Port Arthur at 2701 Procter Street.

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