by Mark Van Streefkerk
From lion dances and traditional music to art performances and dance parties, there are plenty of opportunities to kick off the Year of the Rabbit, or the Year of the Cat in the Vietnamese calendar. This year, the Lunar New Year falls on Jan. 22, but celebrations take place from this weekend into next month. Celebrated in China, Korea, Vietnam, and other East and Southeast Asian countries, some traditions include cleaning and preparing before the holiday; wearing red and gifting money in red envelopes; eating lucky foods, like dumplings and niángāo (glutinous rice cake); honoring ancestors with offerings; and family feasts.
Check out the Emerald’s guide below for some of many amazing celebrations.
Know of something that should be on our list? Send us a tip at Community@SeattleEmerald.org.
For previous Emerald coverage of past Lunar New Years, check out Amanda Ong’s op-ed about experiencing the holiday as part of Seattle’s Asian American diaspora, Andy Panda’s Next Gen comic, Susan Fried’s Year of the Tiger photo essay, and how ChuMinh Tofu Deli celebrates with radical compassion. (ChuMinh’s Sunday meal takes place on Lunar New Year. There will be a special menu with sticky rice, and calendars and other treats will be distributed. Follow @chuminhtofu on Instagram to learn about volunteer and donation opportunities.)
Also check out the Intentionalist’s guide to where to eat for Lunar New Year.
Saturday, Jan. 14, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
100 Mill Ave. S.
The Renton Library will host a kid-friendly Lunar New Year event with storytelling, cultural sharing, and a hands-on project with local artist Aria Zhang. Presented in English and Mandarin.
Saturday and Sunday, January 14–15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Seattle Center, Armory Food & Event Hall and Fisher Pavilion
305 Harrison St.
The Seattle Center is hosting a two-day Tết — Vietnamese New Year — celebration. There’s something for everyone here, including opera, martial arts demos, an eating contest, a spelling bee, a health fair, and much, much more.
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Central Library, Microsoft Auditorium
1000 4th Ave.
This event at the downtown Seattle Public Library includes Chinese music, dance, a costume showcase, a martial arts demonstration, poetry, and more. Presented in English and Mandarin.
AZN GLO: Lunar New Year (21+)
Saturday, Jan. 20, 9 p.m. till late
925 E. Pike St.
This dance party by and for queer, trans, Asian American, and BIPOC communities (featured in the Emerald guide to QTBIPOC events) is kicking off the Lunar New Year at Neumos. Come ready to dance and support local drag and trans legends like Kylie Mooncakes, Gaysha Starr, and Aleksa Manila.
Sunday, Jan. 22, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
1951 Alaskan Way
Don’t miss this New Year celebration right on the pier. The Mak Fai Kung Fu Club will present a lion dance which will include — weather permitting — performers balancing on jongs (tall poles). In addition to the lion dance, there will be food trucks, hot drinks, a fire pit, and a live art performance by Monyee Chau.
Saturday, Jan. 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wing Luke Museum
719 S. King St.
Free for kids up to 5, then tickets range from $10 to $17
The Wing Luke’s annual Lunar New Year Fair is back with a free lion dance with firecrackers and cymbals outside of their King Street entrance at 10 a.m. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., ticket holders can head inside the museum for two floors of family-friendly activities like storytelling, arts and crafts, games, and raffles. Buying tickets in advance is encouraged.
Saturday, Feb. 4, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The CID’s annual celebration returns with music and performances all day at Hing Hay Park, and plenty of local food vendors all along South King Street. Participate in a Food Walk and get stamps for every CID restaurant you visit. Present your stamp card with five or more stamps to enter a raffle for a CID gift basket.
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