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Welcome the lunar new year at the Year of the Horse Festival at SAM’s Asian Art Museum and the Lunar New Year Festival in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District Saturday. Traditionally the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar, lunar new year is celebrated by many Asian cultures with common themes of family togetherness, good food and wishes for good luck in the coming year.

Live music, art making and family gallery tours fill Seattle Art Museum’s Asian Art Museum at Volunteer Park with martial arts demonstrations, Chinese dance performances and Sumi painting.

Try on traditional clothing and take a sketching tour of the “A Fuller View of China, Japan, and Korea” and “Hometown Boy: Liu Xiaodong” exhibits 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and see the kids’ movie “My Avatar Horse” at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Chinatown/International District Lunar New Year Celebration kicks off with lion and running-dragon dances to the beat of drums and cymbals, part of ancient traditions to scare away evil spirits to ensure good luck in the new year. Wearing red, once believed to scare away evil spirits and bad fortune, is another holiday tradition for good luck.

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Lunar New Year Celebration entertainment throughout the day includes taiko drumming, martial arts, and a Children’s Costume Parade and contest at 1:30 p.m. on stage. A variety of exhibits, vendors, games and activities for all ages take place in Hing Hay Park and around the Chinatown/International District.

A $2 takeout menu of tastes from China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia at participating area restaurants is one of the festival’s most popular features and draws big crowds at many venues. .

The Chinese zodiac describes the horse as popular, quick-witted and success- oriented, with an explosive nature and love of sports, a perfect theme for our Seahawks at the Super Bowl. Start your lunar new year with good luck at Saturday’s events to set the mood for Sunday’s big game — go Seahawks!

Madeline McKenzie:

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