Seattle is home to a diverse community of Asian cultures who celebrate the Lunar New Year. The lunar calendar follows the phases of the moon. Lunar New Year occurs somewhere in the last ten days of January and the first twenty days of February, nearly halfway between winter solstice and spring equinox.
Although the Lunar New Year is observed throughout East Asia, each country celebrates in its own way according to national and cultural customs. Preparations may begin one or more days before the first day of the Lunar New Year. Celebrations may continue for several days. Some traditions include cleaning and decorating the home, buying new clothes, welcoming spring, exchanging small gifts or cards, eating special foods, fireworks, the Lion Dance, and many other customs.
Foods for Lunar New Year include long noodles, dumplings, rice cakes, spring rolls, turnips and radishes, fish, pork, and other dishes. Here are some ideas and inspiration:
- Korean Lunar New Year Traditions and Food
- Chinese New Year Food: Top 7 Lucky Foods and Symbolism
- Lucky Foods for the Lunar New Year
- Chinese New Year food that bring wealth
- 10 Lucky Lunar New Year recipes
The Chinese zodiac is represented by 12 animals. According to legend, the Jade Emperor invited the animals of his kingdom to enter a race through the countryside. The first 12 to first finish the long race would each rule over one year every 12 years. The 12 animals are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit (or cat in Vietnam), dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
In Vietnamese culture, people celebrate Tet, which means “joint of a bamboo stern” and in a wider sense, the “beginning of a period of the year”. There are many Tets throughout the year (Mid-autumn Vietnamese New Year, Cold Food Vietnamese New Year, etc.). But the most significant of all is “Vietnamese New Year”, marking the Lunar New Year. The Lunar New Year Celebration welcomes the return of spring and chases out evil spirits with the traditional roaring lion dance and the crackle of firecrackers. Traditional Tet foods include special rice cakes called Banh Chung and Banh Tet, roasted watermelon seeds, pickled onions, boiled chicken, mung bean pudding, Vietnamese sausage (giò chả), red sticky rice, and sweet dried fruits. On the day of Tet, wish yourself and others a Happy New Year or Chuc Mung Nam Moi.
2019 Year of the Pig
- Tuesday, February 5, 2019 is the first day of the Lunar Year. It is traditional to begin the celebration with a festive meal the evening before.
- Due to weather conditions in Seattle, some Lunar New Year events have been rescheduled (see event calendar below).
- 2019 is the year of the Pig. Pig years (people born in): 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031.
2019 Lunar New Year Celebrations in Seattle
(If nothing is listed below, there are no upcoming Lunar New Year events in our calendar. Lunar New Year occurs somewhere between the last ten days of January and the first twenty days of February. We usually update Lunar New Year events in early January for the current year.)