Members of Orange County's Vietnamese community are gathered this weekend at Santa Ana's Centennial Regional Park to mark the beginning of their new year with traditional food, entertainment and contests.
The park is located at 3000 W. Edinger Ave. Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today. The annual Tet Festival saluting the new lunar year is sponsored by the Union of Vietnamese Student Assns. of Southern California.
Wednesday is the first day of the Chinese lunar year, which is shared by the Koreans and Vietnamese. The lunar calendar is divided into 12 months of 29 or 30 days. The calendar is adjusted to the length of the solar year by the addition of an extra month at regular intervals.
The years are arranged in major cycles of 60 years. Each successive year is named after one of 12 animals--Wednesday marks the beginning of the Year of the Dragon.
Wednesday also is Ash Wednesday, first day of Lent as observed by the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the Anglican, Lutheran and some other Protestant churches. Information on services can be obtained through the individual churches.