Sunday marks the Vietnamese New Year, and the Vietnamese Pastoral Council is already celebrating the fact that it doesn't happen to coincide with the Super Bowl.
"In years past, our celebration has fallen on that Sunday, and it would definitely affect our attendance," said the Rev. Ben Nguyen, a priest and chairman of the council.
He said all are invited to join the celebration of the Vietnamese New Year Mass at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Church of the Magdalen, 12626 E. 21st St.
"In the lunar calendar, Feb. 14 is day one of the new year," Nguyen said.
Because the Vietnamese New Year celebration was derived from the Chinese New Year celebration, the two not only share the same day, but also share similar traditions.
Nguyen said the Vietnamese celebration will begin with the Mass, which will last about 90 minutes. Bishop Michael Jackels will celebrate the Mass with attending priests.
Following the Mass, there will be a cultural program with Asian food, a Dragon Dance, Little Miss Viet Nam pageant, cultural songs and dances, door prizes and a mini-carnival.
Each child present will receive "lucky money," which is American money distributed in envelopes. Adults will receive a "New Year Blessing," which are scrolls with quotations from the New Testament printed on them.
"The scrolls are blessed by the bishop, and they serve as a moral compass to live by for the following year," Nguyen said.
In years past, around 2,000 people have attended the celebration. Nguyen said he expects even more this year and for festivities to last till around 7 p.m.