Asian communities throughout the world are preparing for Lunar New Year, an important celebration in East and Southeast Asian cultures, which begins on Sunday.
The holiday is known by different names in different countries —in South Korea it’s called Seollal; in Vietnam it is called Tết; and in China it is known as the Spring Festival. For those following the Chinese zodiac, 2023 is marked as the Year of the Rabbit. The Vietnamese zodiac calendar recognizes 2023 as Year of the Cat.
Most celebrations have common threads — honoring of ancestors and family, enjoying culturally specific rituals and foods, and always, ushering in a new animal to represent the new year.
The duration of the holiday varies by cultural tradition, most people celebrate for 7-16 days. In the Northwest, many events begin this weekend. One beloved event in the Portland area is the lantern viewings at Lan Su Chinese Garden, breathtaking during the day and spectacular at night.
Other highlights for this weekend include:
- Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden kicks off its two-week celebration on Saturday with a free lion dance performance. Other events and displays continue through Feb. 5.
- The annual Chinese New Year Cultural Fair at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland will have a range of performances, food and cultural activities.
- McMinnville’s free event features a range of food and cultural traditions.
- Portland’s Vietnamese Lunar New Year Festival has free day and evening activities on Saturday.
- North Clackamas Parks & Recreation will host a celebration on Sunday in Milwaukie.
A few events beyond this weekend: