The Asian Community On The Gulf Coast Rings In The Start Of Their Lunar New Year

Jennifer Le and Sara Pettersen became the main attraction at this year's Lunar New Year Celebration. This celebration, also known as "tet"in the Vietnamese community, marks the official start of the new year.

But what's a celebration without a dance.  Le and Pettersen took center stage as they put on a dragon head and body to perform the dragon dance.

"This was my first performance like this. It was an awesome eye-opening thing for me. It was absolutely awesome, because I love learning about different cultures," says performer Sara Petterson.

Although they made it look effortless, performing the dragon dance isn't as simple as it looks.

"It is really hard because you have to have not only a good partner but also have cooperation and coordination of course. The head's really heavy, and I got blisters on my hands," says performer Jennifer Le.

But the dancing duo admits they still had a lot of fun, as did others who came out to ring in the new year. "We celebrate. We eat and we have everybody together and everything," says Ladonna Nguyen, Biloxi.

Keeping with tradition, everyone received red envelopes with "lucky" money inside. The monks also handed out little envelopes with everyone's fortune for the new year tucked inside. And those celebrating say it's a very important time for families to reunite and pray together for a healthy and prosperous new year.

"All 365 days a year ,we don't have time to meet together the new year come and we have time to come together, says Charity Le, President of the temple.

And as the new year kicks off, the temple's president has a special wish for all. "Happy new year and good luck to all for all year," says Le.

The temple's president says the temple will be open 24 hours a day through Tuesday for people to pray and celebrate the Lunar New Year. He says the temple will hold special services and events throughout the week.