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WITH the Year of the Metal Rat upon us, celebrations are underway across Southern California. One highly anticipated event to mark the new year is the annual festivities at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, California.

Marking the 11th year the retail center has celebrated Lunar New Year, hundreds of attendees gathered on the green space on Sunday, January 19 for an afternoon of performances, activities and food vendors.

The Americana at Brand is a premier shopping destination for many Asian Americans in the area and this is one of the cultural events it mounts each year to honor that.

“There’s a vast Asian community in Glendale and the surrounding communities. This is just one way to share our token of appreciation and thanks to celebrate the Lunar New Year with our guests,” said James Little, general manager at The Americana at Brand.

The celebration kicked off with an opening parade around the mall with a dragon dance aligning with the tradition to ward off evil spirits. For the next three hours, the main stage had packed programming, from a Chinese Dance by Shin Dance Academy, a Korean Dance by Kim Eung Hwa Korean Dance Academy, a lion dance by The Immortals and a performance by a local magician.

Of course, it’s not Lunar New Year without giving red envelopes, so the “God of Wealth” was on hand to spread the wealth with lucky attendees. Called hóng b­ao, it is customary to gift red envelopes with money to bring a year of good fortune and blessings.

Other activities families partook in were face painting, calligraphy of your zodiac animal sign, dough figurine making, and enjoying Asian-inspired foods from Belly Bombz, Lee’Poof Cotton Candy, Seoul Street and Woo’s Crepe.

Until February 8, retailers at The Americana at Brand are offering exclusive offers and discounts for the holiday, such as 15% off any order at Katsuya, 15% off any purchase at Mac Cosmetics and a complimentary appetizer at Bar Verde at Nordstrom. Other stores like Lululemon and Tory Burch have exclusive Lunar New Year collections.

Lunar New Year begins on January 25 until January 11, ushering the Year of the Metal Rat, the first animal of the 12-year cycle which appears in the Chinese zodiac calendar.

Rats are industrious, thrifty, diligent, and positive.  People born in the Year of the Rat are known to be instinctive and acute. They have keen intuition and can always react properly to the worst of circumstances, and are sophisticated, thrive in social settings, very adaptable, and popular with others.

A full list of specials for the Lunar New Year can be found at

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