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Lunar New Year celebrations kick off this weekend

In the Chinese zodiac, 2011 is the 'Year of the Rabbit.' This photo from last year's celebration shows the Lion and Dragon Dance along King Street in Seattle's International District.

The weekend brings the first of many planned Lunar New Year celebrations around the region. Many Asian cultures mark the event with colorful festivals, parades and performances, including the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian communities, among others.

The Chinese celebrations often include the dramatic Lion and Dragon dances. Many of the region's events are centered around children and family activities:

In Seattle:

  • All-day Lunar New Year celebrations will take place at the International District’s Hing Hay Park, at Maynard Ave. and S. King Street, on Saturday, Jan. 29, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entertainment will include Lion and Dragon dances, Taiko drumming and martial arts demonstrations, and a children's costume parade and contest at 12:30 p.m. There's even a rabbit competition, for pet rabbit owners.


  • The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is sponsoring several events, including a coloring contest for children ages 12 and under. The museum's Lion Dance performance is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5th. 




  • On Sunday, the local chapter of Families with Children from China holds their annual new year celebration at Eckstein Middle School from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. with games, children's carnival and dance performances.

In Pierce County:


  • Exit 133's Daniel Rahe reports the Year of the Rabbit brings the next installment of a city-wide scavenger hunt - of sorts - for glass art balls. An organization called Monkeyshines has placed 500 of the pieces, this year featuring a rabbit motif, around the city. 

The Northwest Asian Weekly's calendar features a more complete listing of area events.