Happy (almost) Lunar New Year! The Year of the Tiger starts on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. Hard to believe, but this is the third year we’ll be celebrating Lunar New Year with a mix of in-person and virtual events. Alongside in-person festivals and activities, virtual events also highlight many new year traditions, like lion dances, red envelopes, firecrackers, delicious food and more.
Most events take place around the last week of January through mid-February. Do double check before heading out: The International District and the City of Sammamish have both just postponed their celebrations originally planned for Feb. 5 (details below). Whenever and however you celebrate, Happy New Year!
When: Decorations are already up; virtual celebration the morning of Monday, Jan. 24
Where: Bellevue Square and online
The Bellevue Collection is known for its impressive annual Lunar New Year celebration. This year, tune in for the virtual dragon and lion parade on the Bellevue Collection’s website. Prior to that main celebration, stop by Bellevue Square for festive displays decorating Bellevue Square and enjoy some Lunar New Year fare at select restaurants showcasing traditional dishes and specialties!
When: Update — lantern kits are all gone, sorry!
Where: Pick up at Bellevue Square guest services
While enjoying the beautiful traditional displays around Bellevue Square, be sure to drop by guest services to pick up a red envelope with a sweet treat inside along with a lantern craft kit to build at home!
When: Saturday, Jan. 29, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Where: Canton Alley, Chong Wa Playfield
Join the Wing Luke Museum for an outdoor celebration to ring in the Year of the Tiger! Check out the various community tables, interactive cultural activities, live performances and to-go crafts. If you’re curious to learn about why lion dances are a popular part of Lunar New Year celebrations, take part in one of the three lion dance talks! While there’s no coloring contest this year, anyone can print and color the Year of the Tiger coloring sheet. All guests over age 2 are required to wear masks and practice social distancing throughout the fair.
When: Saturday, Jan. 29
Join New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art online for family-friendly stories and crafts, then learn about Chinese ceremonial robes and more to celebrate the Year of the Tiger!
5. Lunar New Year story time and craft with King County Library
When: Saturday, Jan. 29, 11 a.m.–noon and/or 1–2 p.m.
Gather the listed supplies, then tune in at 1 p.m. for Lunar New Year stories in English, Mandarin and Vietnamese, and learn how to make a paper tiger craft. Another Lunar New Year craft project with KCLS takes place at 11 a.m., where you can download and print tiger masks to decorate as a (virtual) group. Pre-register for either or both activities in advance.
When: Sunday, Jan. 30, 2:30–3 p.m.
Where: Pier 62, downtown Seattle
Stop by the Seattle waterfront to ring in the Year of the Tiger experiencing a thrilling lion dance performed by the MakFai Kung Fu Club.
7. Tacoma’s mysterious Monkeyshines hunt
When: Around Tuesday, Feb. 1 (typically a week or so before and up to a week after)
Where: Around Tacoma
Tacoma knows how to have fun with guerilla art and we’ve already heard: Monkeyshines will be hidden this year. If you don’t live in Tacoma or haven’t heard about Monkeyshines, read up and you might just be tempted to wake up early and get in on the hunt.
When: Thursday, Feb. 3, 11 a.m.
Gather ’round with the Wing Luke Museum for a festive Lunar New Year-themed folktale about how the tiger got its stripes.
When: Saturday, Feb. 5, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Where: Lincoln District, Tacoma
Join in on the fun for this annual celebration of Asian culture and community featuring lion dancers, firecrackers, food, a pop-up marketplace and tons of family fun!
When: Friday, Feb. 11, 6–8 p.m.
Where: Kirkland Urban Plaza
Cost: Free (food and drink for purchase)
Drop by the Kirkland Urban Plaza to celebrate Lunar New Year! Enjoy a variety of traditional performances including lion and dragon dances (6, 7 and 7:30 p.m.) and a Vietnamese Fan dance (6:30 p.m.). Also don’t miss the whimsical lantern display, calligraphy by Mak Fai Lion Dance, surprise ball giveaways, food and more!
When: Saturday, Feb. 12, 4–6 p.m.
Where: Monka Brewing, Shoreline
Cost: Free (food and drink for purchase)
This Shoreline brewery hosts a lion dance, kung fu demo and an Asian food truck to invite the community to celebrate Lunar New Year. Stop by to join the festivities. You can also visit Monka and another nearby business, Uplift Climbing, to enjoy beautiful lantern displays, Feb. 1–15.
When: Saturday–Sunday, Feb. 12–13, noon–6 p.m.
Where: Online and at the Seattle Center Armory
Part of the Seattle Center Festál series — this year a hybrid of virtual and in-person events — Tết in Seattle is a community celebration of Vietnamese New Year. Join to see how traditions from Vietnam mark this most important festival of the year. Lion dances will take place at noon and 3 p.m. on both days!
When: Any time between Feb. 18–27
Cost: $25–$40; ages 14 and younger free
Kick off the new year with a 5K walk or run on your course of choice, at your own convenience! Take photos and share on Facebook with the hashtag #ICHSLNY5k. Registration includes a Lunar New Year 5K shirt and sponsor swag (while supplies last).
When: Saturday, Feb.19, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Where: Sharon McGavick Center, Lakewood
Bring the whole family to this annual Lunar New Year celebration organized by the Asia Pacific Cultural Center which is back in person this year! Enjoy all kinds of fun cultural arts, live performances, games, eats, and more!
When: Saturday, April 30, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. (postponed from Feb. 5)
Where: Hing Hay Park and the surrounding neighborhood, Seattle
Mark your calendar and save the date for this awesomely authentic experience, just rescheduled into spring. Lion dancers prance through the neighborhood, performing at each storefront until the shopkeeper hands over a red envelope stuffed with cash. Pop, pop, pop! Long strings of firecrackers light up, babies wail and the air fills with smoke. Lunar New Year in Seattle’s International District is the place for food and culture. The day-long festivities feature dragon and lion dances, cultural performances, and a delicious food walk.
When: Saturday, June 4, 1–3 p.m. (postponed from Feb. 5)
Where: Sammamish Commons Plaza
Celebrate the Year of the Tiger and our diverse region with this outdoor, in-person Lunar New Year event. Watch a variety of live performances, including one by the International Lion Dance Team, enjoy food from an Asian food truck and stop by various interactive booths for kids. Also, don’t miss your chance to win a prize in the raffle! Masks are required to attend.
Lunar New Year books for kids
Learn more about Lunar New Year traditions with these stories.
1. “Bringing in the New Year” by Grace Lin: Bright colors and simple text highlight the most important traditions around New Year.
2. “This Next New Year” by Janet Wong: A young boy celebrates the Lunar New Year with all his neighbors and friends. The book is cross-culturally inclusive and its message is universal: Everyone has dreams and hopes for a fresh start.
3. “A New Year’s Reunion” by Li-Qiong Yu: The book is set in China, where some parents have to leave their children to work in cities. This story has more words than the other two, and a twinge of sadness that you might have to explain to your child.
Editor's note: JiaYing Grygiel and Devon Hammer contributed to this article.