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Chinese New Year in Chicago: The Year of the Horse Celebrations

By Casey Cora | January 17, 2014 6:43am
 The Lunar New Year parade in Chinatown takes place Feb. 2, 2014.
The Lunar New Year parade in Chinatown takes place Feb. 2, 2014.
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CHINATOWN — Astrologers say year 4712, the year of the horse, will bring a faster pace to life.

To mark the start of the Chinese new year that begins Jan. 31, the city’s Chinese-American community groups are hosting a wide range of cultural events, from parades to party dinners. Here’s a look at the upcoming events:

DePaul's Chinese New Year Celebration
The university's Chinese New Year celebration takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 31. Festivities include a New Year dinner and bilingual cultural performances from DePaul students and faculty. The event is free and open to the public. More info here.

The Chinese New Year Dumpling Making Dinner
Hosted by the Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute, the family-friendly event takes place Feb. 1 at Hing Kee restaurant, 2131 S. Archer Ave. Now in it’s 10th year, the dinner welcomes guests with lessons in dumpling making, storytelling and an authentic Lunar New Year meal. Tickets cost $35 for adults and $30 for kids. They’re available here.

Year of the Horse Chinese New Year Celebration
The Chinese-American Museum of Chicago’s “Year of the Horse Chinese New Year celebration” takes place from 2-4 p.m. Feb. 1 at the museum, 238 W. 23rd St.

Guests can expect a traditional Lion Dance for good luck, lessons in cultural traditions like staying up all night on Chinese New Year’s Eve and the passing of red packet, a New Year's tradition. Treats include sweet dumplings, Chinese tea, sweet and savory sesame balls and “new year cakes.” Tickets are $10 for museum members, $12 for non-members and $5 for kids 12 and under.

The Lunar New Year Parade
Filled with marching bands, traditional dragon and lion dances and colorful cultural floats, the parade steps of north on Wentworth Avenue from 24th Street to Cermak Road, then heads west on Cermak to Princeton Avenue. The parade takes place 1-2:30 p.m. Feb. 2

Lunar New Year Celebration Dinner
The dinner, hosted by the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, takes place 6-9 p.m. Feb. 11 at the  Phoenix Restaurant, 2131 S. Archer Ave.

For $75, diners will be served a full-course banquet — steamed whole fish, twin whole lobster, Phoenix appetizer platter, Chinese New Year vegetables and more —  and includes raffles and appearances by the contestants in the Miss Friendship Ambassador pageant. Guests are encouraged to wear “something Chinese or something red, the color of good luck." Ticketing information is available here.

The so-called "Chinese Zodiac" refers to a 12-year cycle of animals in Chinese astrology. This year, it's the "Year of the Horse," which is said to bring a higher energy pace to life. According to astrologer and author Susan Levitt, babies born in this "horse" year are intuitive, bright and honest.