One of my favorite things about the Northwest is how many diverse cultures are celebrated here. At this time of year, we can take note of the rich Asian culture and traditions found in the Northwest in a celebration of Chinese New Year. This year, Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year as celebrated by many other countries), will be celebrated on Monday, February 8. The Year of the Monkey will be welcomed in with a variety of culturally enriching programs that are fun for kids and adults alike! Take your pick!
On Saturday, February 6, from 10:00am-4:00pm, stop by the Lott Wet Science Center to make arts and crafts that celebrate the Year of the Monkey. Kiddos can choose from a dragon mask, paper lanterns, lucky fish, or door hangers.
Capital High School hosts a Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, February 6, from 4:00pm-8:30pm, with a buffet dinner, live cultural performances, and raffle prizes. Admission is free for children under 10 and $15/adults.
Celebrate the Year of the Monkey on Monday, February 8, from 4:00pm-5:15 at the Boulevard Park Library in Burien. Children can make a 3D Chinese ornament, learn Chinese calligraphy and enjoy a traditional Chinese New Year snack. Register in advance as spaces fill up.
Tacoma’s Lincoln International District celebrates the Year of the Monkey with performances from lion dancers and cultural groups on Saturday, February 13, from 9:30am-5:30pm.
Tacoma’s Asia Pacific Cultural Center invites you to celebrate the cultures of Asia and the Lunar New Year on Saturday, February 13, from 10:30am-6:00pm at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall. Admission is FREE for this family friendly event featuring food, drinks, cultural arts, retail booths, games, crafts and live entertainment celebrating the cultures of Indonesia, Japan, China, Guam and many more!
Anonymous glass artisans have hidden glass orbs around Tacoma traditionally around Chinese New Year. No one knows exactly when they begin to appear, but that is the fun of it! There is a rumor that the head Monkeyshines artist is tired of being stalked and having greedy folks scoop up more than one. Nonetheless, a bigger and better Monkeyshines year than ever is promised. When will they be out? It’s anybody’s guess! If you have no idea WHAT I’m talking about, you can read more about Monkeyshines here!
Beyond the South Sound
If you want to make a trek to Seattle to ring in the Chinese New Year, you will not be disappointed. On Saturday, February 6, celebrate Lunar New Year at Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum in Seattle’s International District. There will be a FREE lion dance performance at 11:00am, featuring drums, firecrackers and dancers. At 11:30am, the museum hosts a Lunar New Year Fair with games, crafts, face painting, scavenger hunt, and more! Free admission for children and students, and $14.95/adults.
Seattle’s China Town hosts the Lunar New Year Festival on Saturday, February 13. Kids will love the lion and dragon dances, traditional taiko drumming, and even a children’s parade and costume contest. You can also pay only $3 for access to the Food Walk where you can sample dishes from over 30 neighborhood restaurants in the International District.
If you want to drive out to the east side, Bellevue’s Uwajimaya store will be hosting a traditional lion dance performance on Sunday, February 7 at 1:30pm.
If celebrating Chinese New Year awakens you to the rich history of Asian cultures in the Northwest, I highly recommend Jamie Ford’s book Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. A coming of age love story set in World War II Seattle, that features scenes at the Puyallup Fairgrounds where Japanese-Americans were interned shortly after Pearl Harbor. You will gain an immense awareness of what these cultures have endured and a strong appreciation for their values of pride, honor, and family.
Hapa Mama shares all about How to Teach Kids About Chinese New Year Without the Stereotypes, including ideas for volunteering in your child’s classroom or things you can even do at home to help your children understand a culture that is often misunderstood.
No Time for Flash Cards has crafted a great post entitled 10 Books about China and Chinese New Year that you can read to your littles. Your local library will likely also have a shelf of special reads to celebrate the occasion as well.
If you are crafty, you can try your hand at making an easy Chinese paper lantern with your kids. Or, from our archives, try your hand at this dancing dragon puppet craft from one of our fav readers. Even little kids can handle this one!
Check out other Top 11 Can’t Miss Events in February