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A Quick Guide to Lunar New Year Celebrations Around Seattle

January 1st was just the spark 🎇

January 13, 2023

Two performers from LQ Lion Dance perform at a Lunar New Year celebration at Wing Luke Museum in the Chinatown-International District

📸: Photo by Alan Alabastro Photography | Courtesy Wing Luke Lunar New Year 2023

Can’t get the New Year’s party out of your head? Well, the New Year’s not over yet

January 22nd marks the Lunar New Year for all cultures who share the Lunar Calendar. And Seattle is the place to be when celebrating Lunar Fests. Throughout January, February, and beyond, the spirit of the new year continues.

January 1st was just a spark. Here’s where to catch the full flame

1

Tết: Vietnamese Lunar New Year @ Seattle Center

A crowd of people gather in Seattle Center for Vietnamese Lunar New Year. Lion puppets are raised above
📸: Courtesy Tết In Seattle

Saturday, January 14th – Sunday, January 15th

Tết, short for Tết Nguyên Đán, which translates to “Festival of the First Day of the Year,” is a Vietnamese holiday that celebrates just that. It’s one of the most important holidays, as it not only welcomes the arrival of a much-needed spring but serves as hope for this year to be the best it can be. It’s based on the Lunar Calendar, which the Vietnamese Zodiac uses to classify each year as a different animal, repeating in a 12-year cycle, with this year being the cat. Here at Seattle’s Fisher Pavilion, walk around and douse yourself in the rich-aromatic smell from Vinason Pho, a popular local and sustainable Vietnamese restaurant in the heart of Seattle. Enjoy arts and crafts from merchandise vendors such as Lucky Star Fruit Co or Misha Charms, and live performances from celebrated Vietnamese artists Ánh Minh and Ha Thanh Xuân. Admission is free both days, and the whole event is family-friendly.

2

Iu-Mien Lunar New Year @ Kent Super Buffet

A poster for Seattle lu Mien New Year featuring red lanterns and lu Mien head pieces
📸: Courtesy Seattle lu Mien 2023

Saturday, January 14th • 3 pm – 12 am

The Iu-Mien. Truth is, not much is known about our culture. We’re nomadic, don’t have our own country, and live in various parts of Southeast Asia. But Seattle is a place we can call home. We’re a tight-knit community here, and we know how to celebrate. I can talk endlessly about our traditions, people, and food, from succulent roast pork to spicy and sour papaya salads paired with sticky rice. There are no “Mien restaurants” here in Seattle, so the food we have on this day is something you can only get by knocking on a Mien family’s front door. 

Come and join us for live entertainment, traditional Mien dances, and music. Tickets are $30 for general admission, granting you unlimited Mien homestyle cooking. 

3

Wing Luke Lunar New Year Fair @ Wing Luke Museum

A volunteer holds up a sign that reads "FOLLOW ME TO JAMES ST!" with a red koi fish drawn in the center
📸: Courtesy Wing Luke Museum

Saturday, January 28th • 10 am – 3 pm

The Wing Luke Museum, founded in 1967, is a special place for AAPI in Seattle. It’s a museum focused on our time here, documenting our art, history, and culture. It’s only fitting for the museum to provide its very own Lunar New Year Festival. A day of family activities, AAPI exhibits, and the ever-popular Lion Dance. The event is free and open to everyone, though buying tickets for the exhibitions inside Wing Luke in advance is recommended. Masks are required. If you’re looking to help on that day, they’re looking for all the volunteers they can get.

4

Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration @ Chinatown-International District

A sign for Lunar New Year with a rabbit in the center holding a red envelope
📸: Courtesy SCID

Saturday, February 4th • 11 am – 4 pm 

The Year of the Rabbit comes this year for Chinese culture and blesses us with its wisdom, success, and boundless amounts of luck. Fingers crossed it’s a much-needed beacon of hope that this year will be better than the others this decade. You can celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year where it all started here, in the Chinatown-International District. Walk around the street with the celebration’s famous Food Walk. A plethora of stands serve different East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. A warning, however: With over 11 thousand people RSVPing on Facebookthe streets will be busy. The lines will be long, AKA an excellent chance to make some friends. As you wait for your food, there will be many live performances throughout the event, from Japanese Taiko drumming to the majestic and traditional Lion and Dragon Dances.

5

Seattle Night Market: Lunar New Year @ Magnuson Park Hangar 30 

A person holds the head of a dragon during a dragon dance
📸: Courtesy Fremont Sunday Market

Saturday, February 11th  2 pm – 10 pm

If you couldn’t get enough of the food from the last Lunar festival you went to, now’s your chance to stuff yourself. The Lunar Night Market event at Magnuson Park’s Hangar 30 celebrates the Lunar New Year in a fashion Seattle knows all too well: a 21+ night of food, shopping, live entertainment, and eating. The recurring night market event will feature over 100 vendors, plenty of food trucks, a karaoke bar, and a giant cocktail bar. It’s very adult-friendly. Live entertainment includes AAPI programming, like the Mak Fai Drunken Lion Dance, plus a makers market showcase, live DJs, and Tarot readings! Tickets are $15 or $25 for a VIP pass. Parking is free. 

Nathan is a recent UW graduate and a connoisseur of instant Vietnamese coffee—the same brand for six years. ("G7 3-in-1" to be exact!!!) He is currently a volunteer book reviewer for The International Examiner and a dog dad to Willow, the world's most animated terrier.

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