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Celebrate the Chinese New Year with a parade and lights or food and fireworks

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Sure, the Superbowl and Ground Hog Day are both on Feb. 2. But the end of January and beginning of February are also filled Chinese New Year celebrations.

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From parades to lights on buildings and food to fireworks and firecrackers, Chinese festivities extend from Chinese New Year's Eve on the last day of the previous year to the Lantern Festival on day 15 of the new year. The Chinese calendar follows the moon cycles so several events are called Lunar New Year celebrations

The Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations are filled with bright colors so wear some red, add some gold, maybe green, and head to some of the following events to celebrate 4712, the Year of the Horse.

The Loop: Watch for the play of light and images on the Michigan Avenue side of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. from Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2014 from 5 to 10 p.m. A block west of the Cultural Center, look in the Macy’s windows on Randolph Street Jan. 31-Feb. 24, 2014 for a traditional Chinese Shadow Play. Macy’s is at 111 N. State St. A couple of blocks further west at the Daley Civic Center, 50 W. Washington St., Lion Dancers, martial arts, music and other dancers entertain during the noon hour, Jan. 31, 2014

At Navy Pier: Chinese performers, a lantern parade and crafts co-sponsored by the Redmoon Theater and the Chinese Fine Arts Society take place in Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom, Feb. 1, 2014, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. followed by fireworks at 7:30 p.m. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Return to the Pier Feb. 16 for the Lantern Celebration from noon to 3 p.m. in the Crystal Gardens.

In Chinatown: Watch Chinatown’s parade on Wentworth Avenue from Twenty-fourth to Twenty-second Streets, Feb. 2, 2014 from 1 to 3 p.m. Make a reservation for tea and treats at the Chinese American Museum of Chicago, 238 W, Twenty-third St. for Feb. 1, 2014 from 2 to 4 p.m. Museum admission is $12 admission. For information and reservations taste dumplings, new year cakes, sesame balls and tea. Call 312-949-1000.

Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile: Stop at Big Bowl Jan. 30, 2014 at the Shops at Northbridge, 520 N. Michigan Ave. for a complimentary lunch or dinner entre if you were born in the Year of the Horse (1930, 42, 54, 66, 78, 90 and 2002). ID proof needed. Big Bowl is also doing a dumpling class Feb. 1 from 9 a.m. Cost is $15 adults, $5 age 13 and under. Some of the stores will offer discounts Jan. 31-Feb. 2. Also on the Mag Mile, Bloomingdales, 900 N. Michigan Ave., celebrates the Lunar Year Jan. 30-Feb. 2 with food, cultural activities and discounts.

Uptown: The Argyle Street Parade features Lion and Dragon Dancers starting at 1121 W. Argyle to Sheridan Road and back on Ainslie and Broadway, Feb. 1, 2014 at 1 p.m. The event includes fireworks.

Panda Express: Find the nearest Panda Express on Jan. 31 for a free serving of Firecracker Chicken Breast. Coupons can be downloaded at Panda Express.

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