Photos by Steve Shay
The Vietnamese Lunar New Year was celebrated Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Vietnamese Cultural Center in West Seattle. Mayor Mike McGinn spoke. For SLIDESHOW click on above photo, or click on photos in gallery below.

SLIDESHOW: Dancing lions & firecrackers explode at Vietnamese Cultural Center New Year celebration; Mayor McGinn speaks

For SLIDESHOW, click on photo for more, or click on photo from gallery below

The Vietnamese Lunar New Year known as T"ết Nguyên Đán" or Tet, was celebrated today, Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Vietnamese Cultural Center, 2236 SW Orchard St. in West Seattle. Mayor Mike McGinn attended, and spoke. He sported a yellow and red-striped tie, the colors of the South Vietnamese flag, given to him at a prior Vietnamese celebration he attended at Seattle Center. In the background was the community center's second memorial, what some may call a temple, adjacent to the existing memorial. It is under construction and expected to be finished by Aug. 1.

The mayor's opening words were, "Chúc mừng năm mới", or Happy New Year in Vietnamese.

"The Seattle City Council passed a resolution recognizing this flag as the 'Heritage Flag of the Vietnamese Community in Seattle' and I was given this tie in recognition of that resolution," Mayor McGinn told the West Seattle Herald after he spoke.

"This community is here in large part because of the strife that was in Vietnam from the war, the boat people afterwards, and for them this is a very defining part of their community so it is very important that we recognize that history and why in part they're here," he added. "The Vietnamese community contributes tremendously to our city, to our region. This is Tet. It's a big day and I'm glad to be out here. This is my third Tet festival of the day I attended."

"I think it is a beautiful day, and a lot of people came today.," said Cultutral Center Director Lee Ducly Bui. "I hope that it is a good year for the Vietnamese Cultural Center and we are looking foreword to when we officially open the memorial."

In keeping with tradition, the dragon dances and music, were performed by the Âu Lạc Vovinam Lion Dance Team.

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