Come celebrate the Lunar New Year with Seattle's Vietnamese community!

By Lalaine Ignao
February 7, 2018

As the first event in Seattle Center’s annual Festal lineup, Tet in Seattle (TiS) has the added responsibility of launching the series of cultural festivals with a bang. It has never disappointed in its 32 years of operations.

Tet in Seattle began in 1996 as a collaborative effort by four local Vietnamese organizations who saw a need to preserve and promote Vietnamese culture. They do so by hosting an annual Tet festival to celebrate the Vietnamese version of Lunar New Year and working with other organizations to improve community engagement and find ways to bridge generations of Vietnamese Americans together. Each year, planning begins about ten months in advance to see what the organization can bring to the upcoming festival and how to make it better than the last.

“I feel like this is a great event,” says TiS Co-Executive Director Julia Le. “Regardless of religion or background, anyone can come.”

Lion dance at Tet in Seattle. Photo by Tet in Seattle.

The event is free and there are plenty of activities to enjoy. A dining area will host food vendors selling all the Vietnamese favorites like banh mi, pho, coffee, and much more. Arts and crafts activities are available in the designated kids section, where they can watch a Vietnamese spelling bee and knowledge bowl competition. Local vendors and organizations will also be there to share their work.

In the spirit of giving back to the community, TIS began hosting a community health fair to provide basic but important medical and dental services for free. The 4th Annual Health Fair will offer screenings and services for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, chiropractic care & massage therapy, insurance enrollment, nutrition, and vision health. In addition, there will be a mammography van and dental health treatment van.

Julia says that it is important TiS coordinates with others for this event. For example, the Vietnamese Student Associations from Seattle U and University of Washington are performing traditional dances during the festival.

But the part Julia looks forward to most is the lion dance, a traditional performance to kick off the new year with good luck and to get rid of any bad energy.

“As a child growing up, I always looked forward to the lion dance,” Julia says excitedly. “This year, we are bringing a lion dance team from Oregon and they do a special performance where they perform up to 20 feet high.”

The festival is all about bringing family and friends together to celebrate the New Year, which officially begins on February 16 this year. Tet in Seattle will take place on February 10 and 11 at the Seattle Center Center House and Fisher Pavilion from 11am-7pm. Don’t miss it!