Jim Jones' Eastword column: Getting ready for the Year of the Snake

February 10, 2013 

My wife has been on a mission this week, cooking special dishes for Tet, the Vietnamese new year.

Today, Feb. 10, marks the beginning of the Year of the Snake -- the lunar new year - also celebrated in China, Korea, Japan, and elsewhere, including pockets of the United States.

We observe it in our house because my wife, Kim, is Vietnamese. She is making her favorite dishes from Vietnam. She will also be making some really long-distance calls back to Bac Lieu, where her family will be feasting and toasting the holiday.

They say the Year of the Snake will be an auspicious one for commerce and industry. Make a note, Manatee Chamber of Commerce.

In the Vietnamese culture, house cleaning is also part of the ritual, but not on new year's day. Cleaning the house on new year's is seen as bad luck.

I try to help out with the dishes, the laundry, and the vacuuming.

The other morning I was up early, clattering pots and pans in the kitchen. It woke Kim up and she yelled at me, as she should.

What she would really like, she said, was for me to paint the house.

But it's only 4:30 a.m., I protested.

We'll get the house painted soon. It's on my to-do list, I promised her.

The lunar new year is a low-key event in Bradenton.

I called the folks at Wong Kai Imports. Who better to give the low-down on things related to the new year? They only event they knew about was held last weekend.

Most likely that was

with the Gulf Coast Chinese Association, which has a communal celebration.

On new year's day, many of the members celebrate quietly at home with their families, Maria Gaffar, president of the Asian Women's Club of Lakewood Ranch told me.

The South Florida Museum in Bradenton, which has had a lunar new year program the past three years, isn't doing one this year.

Other than that, I know of only two new year's events. A local Buddhist congregation has a social event for its members Sunday.

And Sarasota Polo Club at Lakewood Ranch has a lunar new year's tailgating contest.

Categories include best Chinese noodle dish, best dessert that includes oranges and best decorated space.

Gates open at 10 a.m., and the polo starts at 1 p.m. The club is located on the southwest corner of Lorraine Road and University Parkway.

One of my colleagues is going. He said he's making cold Chinese chicken noodle salad, and was heading to Wong Kai to pick up the ingredients. Happy new year Ken, and good luck!

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 941-745-7021 or tweet @jajones1

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