by Xin Jin
DALLAS, the United States, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- It's a festive weekend in and around Dallas, a major city in the U.S. state of Texas, where hundreds of people celebrated the end of the Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Lantern Festival.
In Dallas, shopping malls joined in on the celebration. Hundreds of red lanterns draped down from the ceiling of the Dallas Gallery shopping mall, while a big Chinese New Year message could be seen at North Park Center, another big shopping mall in the city.
Lunar New Year is a big deal in Dallas, residents say. It's a two-week event that includes several celebrations among Asian communities, ranging from large-scale lantern displays in upscale shopping malls to cultural performances and, of course, the Lantern Festival to conclude it.
In Southlake, a suburban city 20 miles (32 km) west of Dallas, more than 100 children and adults flocked to the Town Hall activity center on Saturday afternoon, joining a workshop to make hand-crafted rabbit lanterns that best exemplify the customs of the Lantern Festival.
As night fell and streetlights began to flicker, people from all over the city gathered in the Rustic Park in front of the Town Hall, bringing the lanterns they had made earlier in the day. As people followed the young dragon dancers' footsteps during the evening lantern walk, the streets and alleys of Southlake were filled with lighting and laughter.
"As a mayor, one of the most fun and honored things I do is to support all of the cultures in Southlake, including our Asian culture," John Huffman, the mayor of Southlake, told Xinhua, calling the whole Spring Festival "truly special and meaningful."
The year 2023 is the sixth year Southlake has hosted the Lantern Festival celebration, according to Fendy Chan with the Southlake Sister Cities, a local group co-organizing Saturday's events with the city library.
As the Lantern Festival grew in size over time, people enjoyed more activities, such as dragon and lion dances, guessing lantern riddles, lighting lanterns after dark and eating rice balls with various fillings.