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Lunar New Year celebrations

Lunar New Year celebrations start Jan. 29

Lunar New Year celebrations start Jan. 29

It’s the year of the monkey, and we’re ready to celebrate Lunar New Year! Legend has it that in ancient times, there was a monster named Nian who lived deep under the sea. On New Year’s Eve the beast would emerge to feed on people and livestock. Villagers lived in fear of Nian and often fled on the annual holiday.

Then, one year, an old man refused to leave with the others. He claimed he scared Nian away by pasting the color red on the doors of his neighbors’ homes, building a loud crackling fire and dressing in red garments. When the villagers returned, they were happily surprised to see their homes intact.

From then on, every New Year’s Eve, people have held large, loud, vibrant celebrations to keep Nian at bay. This year, Seattle Parks and Recreation is hosting a few!

Celebrate the Lunar New Year with the Vietnamese Senior Association! Garfield Community Center is hosting cultural demonstrations including the lion dance. There will be a Vietnamese lunch and raffle prizes. This event is part of our Lifelong Recreation programming. Save the date from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.

Take part in Hiawatha Community Center’s third annual Lunar New Year kickoff! The center will lead a women’s self-defense clinic, martial arts and lion dance demonstrations, zodiac activities, fortune telling and small eats. Save the date for this free festivity from 2:30-4:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016.

Join the International District Chinatown Community Center and the Chinese Information and Service Center in a colorful, festive celebration to welcome the Lunar New Year. You will be immersed in traditional music, cultural music and live entertainment. There will be appetizers and performers doing the Lion Dance, magic, Kung Fu and more. Save the date for this free festivity from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016 at the community center.