SEATTLE — Lunar New Year officially kicks off a week of celebrations on Jan. 24, and Wing Luke Museum in Seattle's International District is preparing for festivities and fun.

On Jan. 25, Wing Luke will host a fair to celebrate the new year, complete with a lion dance, art activities, drag queen storytime, and fireworks.

"Even though this holiday may not be something you typically celebrate or this from the outside seems like a community or culture you're not a part of, here you can find things that connect to everyone," Wing Luke Tour Coordinator Jintana Litouvong said.

This is the year of the rat, one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac that cycles through in each new year and follows the phases of the moon. 

"The themes are really relatable for all," Litouvong said. "A fresh start, renewal, time to spend with your family, and eating lots of really good food."

The 12 animals in the zodiac are: pig, ox, tiger, rabbit (or cat in Vietnam), dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and rat. 

According to Litouvong, those born in the year of the rat are said to be industrious, smart, and great in business.

Seattle has had large Chinese and Asian Pacific Islander populations since the 1850s. The communities have a rich and complicated history that includes periods of exclusion, internment, cultural revival, and home building in Seattle's International District and beyond. 

Wing Luke Employees hope Lunar New Year can help educate people on the Asian-American experience in Seattle while providing a fun week of festivities that ends in a bang.

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