Notable Seattle Events for Chinese New Year 2016
With the Chinese New Year creeping up on us it is only fair we focus on some of the many events happening in Seattle. Have a look at some events, activities and restaurants you have to explore.
Chinese New Year is nearly upon us and everyone is getting ready to celebrate the event in style. There are a range of events across the country with Seattle being no exception! We have decided to put together a little something to help you organise your trip that little bit easier this year. 2016 will be filled with events and activities for everyone to enjoy. Food is not taking a back seat throughout this period with a huge number of amazing Chinese restaurants to go and explore throughout the city. See our suggestions below to help you make the best decision on what to do for the Chinese New Year 2016 in Seattle.
About the Chinese New Year 2016 and the Year of the Monkey
As you may already know the first day of the Chinese New Year is very different to the New Year we all know and love. The New Year we know takes place on the 1 January every year. The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year takes place on the first day of the Chinese Lunar calendar which changes every single year. The date of the chinese New Year always falls within the 21 January and the 20 February of each year. Of course, the Chinese or Lunar New Year is a public holiday for the Chinese communities. Chinese communities across the world normally have seven days of rest from the date of the Chinese New Year onwards.
This year, The Chinese New Year falls on February 8th, 2016. This said, celebrations start much earlier. You will find celebrations happening anywhere between three weeks before the date itself and two weeks after the month of the Chinese Lunar calendar. The great thing about the Chinese New Year is the spirit involved in all the ceremonies and celebrations. It is a great opportunity to understand the culture from a religious, cultural and artistic point of view. A truly beautiful celebration!
This year, 2016, welcomes the year of the Monkey. If you are born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992 or 2004 you are considered a Monkey. Each year welcomes a different animal. The Chinese Zodiac animals include the Monkey (obviously), the Rooster, the Dog, the Pig, the Rat, the Ox, the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse and the Goat. For the Monkeys out there you may not be too happy to hear that 2016 may bring you bad luck! It is thought to not be a great year apparently especially in relationships. On the hand, if you own a business or are passionate about your career you may well have a good year to come. A few traits the typical monkeys have are wit, intelligence and a go to personality.
About the Seattle Chinatown International District
You may have heard of or visited the Chinatown in Seattle. Although not as renowned as other Chinatowns in the country such as San Francisco or New York, Seattle is thriving Chinese community and has a lot to offer. Chinatown is obviously predominantly run by the Chinese community that lives there however The Chinatown International District Business Improvement Area works to help promote Seattle chinatown further year upon year.
The Chinatown International District Business Improvement Area work on a variety of projects in Chinatown to better the community every year. Some of the key things they do include: maintaining public safety throughout Seattle’s Chinatown as well as keeping the streets and all public areas clean to maintain a clean and attractive atmosphere. Other activities they support are: helping to recruit and retain businesses and employment in the Chinatown area as well as maintaining a high level of customer service and a high benchmark for how businesses should be run.
Aside from supporting the community as a whole the Chinatown International District Business Improvement Area works to help in a number of different ways with an array of events and marketing. They use their key teams to improve important events in the Chinatown community every year. Some of the most renowned and challenging events include the Night Markets and of course the Chinese or Lunar New Year as well as the Dragon Festival. You will be happy to know that this year is no exception. The Chinese New Year celebration and Dragon Festival are coming to Seattle’s Chinatown in a bigger and better form (if that were even possible!).
About the Center Festal and Tet in Seattle
Learn Everything you need to Know About Tet
So what is Tet? Tet is a Vietnamese Lunar New Year Celebration that is celebrated every year around the Chinese New Year period. Tet festivals are a celebration of the Lunar New Year and are typically celebrated in Vietnam. There are so many in Vietnam it is impossible to choose which one to attend! Tet normally happens between the last ten days of January and the middle of February of each year.
Tet is not like any other New Year celebration. In the West we typically celebrate the New Year with a few drinks and our nearest and dearest. It is our opportunity to make promises for the New Year and start afresh. In Vietnam and other parts of the East, Tet is a celebration of the relationship between humans and Mother Nature. As a country famous for their farmers, it is a period of rest for both work people and Mother Nature.
The celebration of Tet in Vietnam is also an amazing ceremony of peace and serenity. The idea is that the New Year should bring pure, honest and beautiful actions. This should of course continue throughout the year but there is a big emphasis on this particular period. For the three days around Tet, people aim to not argue, be unpleasant in anyway or fall out with each. It is the perfect moment to bring people closer together and put any arguments or disagreements in the past to start the New Year afresh.
In addition to this amazing idea of peace, it is also an occasion for families to come together and spend this time together. Members are given red envelopes with money in to show good behaviour and graves of family members and friends as well as other loved ones are visited throughout this period. We would like to describe this period of the year as the utopic human world where people learn to be at peace, in harmony and general share mutual love. It is really a truly beautiful time with a mound of culture.
Seattle is bringing its version to Tet in Chinatown this year. Below we have highlighted some of the top events you just have to have a look into before heading to Seattle in February. There is truly something for everyone!
See What There is To Do During Tet in Seattle on Saturday 13 February 2016
If you want to indulge in some real martial arts culture all the way from Vietnam you are in for a treat as the day will kick off with a traditional Vovinam Viet Dao Martial Arts performance at the Fisher Pavilion from 12.15 pm through until 12.45 pm. This type of Vietnamese martial art does not require any weapons apart from the mind and body. It uses force, reaction and a range of feet, knee, elbow and hand techniques. Watching this will be more like a dance performance than a battle.
If you are looking for something related to dance or vocal art, there are an abundance of performance happening throughout the day at the Fisher Pavilion and Armory. From piano solos, children’s dances, traditional dance and vocal performances, children violin performances, Vietnamese Opera, Lion dances as well as children’s vocal performances you will not be getting bored. You may find it hard to make a decision as to which events to attend as there are so many to choose from! To watch traditional children's performances we would suggest you visit the Armory between 11.45am and 3pm. For something more “old school” the Fisher Pavilion is probably best and acts run from 1pm to 5.15pm.
So we have covered traditional martial arts and a number of options for both vocal and dance performances by both adults and children. Other performances happening throughout this FREE day of fun and culture include Red Envelopes ceremonies and Trivia as well as a performance of traditional Vietnamese instruments in the Fisher Pavilion from 2pm to 2.30pm and 4pm through to 4.45pm. The Armory will be running a number of fun activities for kids such as two rounds of children spelling bee’s with the first one running from 11.45am to 12.30pm and the second one from 2pm to 3pm. In addition to this there will be Vietnamese Movie time from 3pm to 4.45pm and a number of other children’s events that have not yet been disclosed to the public.
See What There is To Do During Tet in Seattle on Sunday 14 February 2016
Sunday may be the second day but it is just as good and has just as many exciting activities in store for everyone to enjoy. Although some acts are the same in case people could not make it to the Saturday session, there are also some exciting new options for those wanting to explore Vietnamese culture that little bit further.
The Fisher Pavilion is introducing a few new acts especially tailored to those who love live local performances. It is one thing to visit a local theatre or show and another to be engulfed in the culture of Vietnam through songs. There will be four live vocal performances between the times of 2.30pm and 6.15pm. Performers include Y Lan, Truong Thy and Vi Khanh. In addition to this, you will be able to witness a medley of Vietnamese performances between three singers. If you are a fashionista and love all things clothing and makeup then you may want to stick around between 5pm and 5.30pm as the Thuy Duyen Fashion Show will be taking place.
The Armory will remain a place where all or most of the children’s activities will take place. This said, as the Spelling Bee is taking place on the Saturday there are a few new activities to fill the gaps. There will be a Children’s Vietnamese Knowledge Bowl which is fun, little quiz for children about what they have learnt about Vietnamese history, geography, customs and traditions. There is also going to be a fantastic cooking competition and Armory Loft number three will offer a free health fair. The Tet Festival is really an incredible event that incorporates a number of fun activities for absolutely everyone to join in with and learn more about Vietnamese culture, history and everything in between.
Other Events you May Want to Explore During the Chinese New Year 2016 in Seattle
Wednesday Go Nights at the Seattle Uwajimaya
The Uwajimaya food court will be working with the Seattle Go Center to run a game of Japanese Go. This game is an Asian strategy game that started in China over 3,000 years ago. The venue is putting together a game of Japanese Go for everyone to come and join in with. The game will start at 6pm and 8pm and anyone is welcome to go and learn how to play with other like minded people.
Make an Appearance at the Lunar New Year Sale and Red Envelope Giveaway
In China a red envelope giveaway is traditionally done for a special occasion or event. The Chinese New Year is one of those special occasions where this activity happens. It can be for a number of reasons. Whether it is to congratulate well behaved children, toast to a new born baby or celebrate a wedding, it does not matter. Similar customs happen in other parts of the world as well. Uwajimaya is celebrating this tradition between January 27 and February 9, 2016. The idea behind the event is that anyone spending more than $30 during the Lunar New Year Sale at the Uwajimaya stores will be offered a red envelope that will contain a special prize so you may as well go and fill your boots! The envelopes are limited at one per per person until the sale is over or until there are no more prizes therefore you may want to get in there quickly.
Join in at the Lion Dance Celebration
Every single Uwajimaya store will be hosting a Lion Dance performance. The Lion Dance performance is part of the Lunar New Year celebration and is a dance that mimics a lions movement in traditional lion type costume. Sometimes the Lion Dance is confused with a Dragon Dance. The key difference between the two is that Dragon Dance is maneuvered by a large number of people whereas a Lion Dance is one that is started by only two. The Seattle Uwajimaya store is hosting a Lion Dance on Sunday 31 January 2016 at 1pm and is open to anyone wanting to explore the art of Chinese performance in light of the Lunar New Year.
Explore Some of the Top Class Chinese Restaurants in Seattle
The Boiling Point
Okay, so you may be wondering why we have chosen to put a chain in our top Chinese restaurants for you to have a look at? Well, this California based chain has just continued to grow over the past few years and it is no real surprise. The quality of food is incredible! you won’t feel like you are in a chain restaurant at all! The concept is very simple. All you need to do is choose from ten different types of hot pots. All the hot pots are made with a variety of ingredients, spices and herbs and to be honest they are all to die for.
There is something for everyone at the Boiling Point. Whether you are into your spicy dishes or want something a little more interesting you will not be disappointed. The Boiling Point can be found at 610 5th Avenue South in Seattle. Prices vary but on the whole everything all of them are reasonable.
Din Tai Fung Dumpling House
Dumplings are a bit of a treat now a days. It is quite hard to find the right place as we have really tried some pretty awful ones! Well, you may be in luck as Din Tai Fung Dumpling House are professionals at cooking all things dumpling related. Seattle is the second city in North America to have a dumpling house and it would be hard for anyone to be disappointed. They do incredible soups and broths with dumplings in them as well as steamed dumplings. There are a variety of flavours from vegetarian options all the way to pork, chicken, prawn and everything in between.
Din Tai Fung Dumpling House is an amazing place for sharing with friends. The restaurant has an incredibly diverse menu and offers noodle and rice dishes as well. Admittedly, it is a little bit pricier than other restaurants in the area but it is worth the extra cash. Din Tai Fung Dumpling House can be found on 700 Bellevue Way North East, Bellevue. Have a look at their menu online if you want to have a sneak peak before heading over.
This Taiwanese restaurant can be pretty busy as it is considered a bit of a hot spot in the area. As with all Taiwanese food it is quite sweet but if you have a sweet tooth you will find yourself in paradise! There is a huge diversity of dishes and this is mainly because locals congregate here to eat great food at an affordable price. Some of the meal choices include pork burgers, a variety of flavoured noodle soups and some great shaved ice desserts.
Facing East is a lovely restaurant which can be found on 1075 Bellevue Way North East, Bellevue. Honestly, we wouldn’t advise you to visit their website as it is not very informational and does not do the restaurant justice. Just head over and enjoy great food!
La Bu La
La Bu La which was formerly known as the Bamboo Garden is a restaurant that serves Sichuan cuisine. Sichuan cuisine is a type of local Chinese cuisine. This newly remodelled restaurant has an incredible variety of food and menus. That is right, they have a different menu for lunch, dinner, takeout and they also offer their famous “The Wild Side” menu. Some of their most popular dishes include Hand Shaven Noodles, Crab Sichuan Style, Ma Po Tofu and Crispy Walnut Prawns in Edible Basket amongst others.
If you like to live life on the wild side that is exactly what La Bu La specialize in. They use all sorts of “less” conventional ingredients in their “The Wild Side” menu including rabbit, pork (but not as we know it!), swimming fire fish and so on. Your beautiful food will be accompanied by great drinks, amazing service and a spectacular setting. La Bu La can be found on 288 106th Avenue North East, Suite 200, Bellevue.
Seattle has so much to offer during the Lunar New Year it would be a shame to not make an appearance for at least one of the many events organised. For more information on Chinese New Year celebrations across The States have a look at some of our other Daring Penguin articles.
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