Celebrate the Year of the Ram at the Bellevue Collection’s Third Annual Lunar New Year festival. This year, the family-friendly excitement includes nearly forty different performances including lion dancing, tai chi, traditional Chinese music, wushu (or kung fu), mask dancing, peacock dancing, and Chinese opera, and many others. For good luck, dim sum purveyor, Din Tai Fung, will offer sample dumplings to the audience. In honor of the event, kites and lanterns will adorn the mall, while stores will decorate their windows.
“We really wanted to engage the community, and connect, and understand all the different nationalities that celebrate … the Lunar New Year,” says Jennifer Leavitt Vice President of Marketing for the Bellevue Collection. After all, the Lunar New Year is not only celebrated in China, but in Viet Nam and other Asian countries as well. “It’s been a great experience for us to grow and learn with the community and celebrate the diversity here in Bellevue.” Leavitt says that one of her favorite performances is the lion dance. “I love how surprised people are when they see it, especially the kids’ faces. Especially around the center court, especially when the [lions’] eyelashes open and close.” Traditionally, the lion dance was performed to chase away bad luck. Today, the performers are playful and almost clown-like.
“This year we are going to hand out the lucky red envelopes. I thought that would be a nice touch for customers,” says Julie Hamasaki, style and event coordinator for the Bellevue Collection. “We are going to hand that out to kids…Upstairs we will have our activity table with take-away things like calligraphy. This is a nonverbal way of saying, ‘Welcome to this culture,’ or an easy way to learn about it. We have display boards up that explain the Lunar New Year.”
Ideally, for the Lunar New Year, people should wear new clothes, and red or gold are particularly encouraged. However, Hamasaki and Leavitt both urge visitors to come as they are, to enjoy the free event. (end)