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Chicago celebrates Chinese New Year of the Horse across city

Chinatown in Chicago
City of Chicago

A citywide celebration of Chinese New Year is being held in Chicago, from the downtown Loop to Chinatown to communities around the city. The festivities started on Fri., Jan 31, 2014 and will continue through the weekend, with some celebrations being held through Feb. 14, according to information from Navy Pier and Choose Chicago.

This year is the Year of the Horse on the Chinese calendar. Highlights of the festivities in Chicago include a celebration and fireworks at Navy Pier on Feb. 1 and a Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown on Feb. 2. There are also colorful displays on State Street, at Macy's window and at the Chicago Cultural Center. The Ice Rink at Millennium Park features a special light display (Jan.31-Feb.2, 5-10 p.m.).

The celebration of Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is an initiative of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Choose Chicago in an ongoing effort to foster tourism. In addition to the events around the city, the Chinese restaurants in and around Chicago are likely to be featuring Chinese New Year, so this is a great time to get out and enjoy a meal at a Chinese restaurant.

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, one of the most ceremonious and celebrated festivals
in Chinese Culture. Chicago's celebration will continue to expand year over year and is expected to grow to be the largest celebration of Chinese New Year in North America, according to a statement made by the City of Chicago.

“A city-wide celebration of Chinese New Year is a wonderful way to bring together Chicagoans from around the city while attracting visitors from around the world,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This unique event will grow and expand over time until it is the largest in the North America and will be a prime example of creativity and innovation as we seek to grow tourism and create jobs in the city of Chicago.”

Chicago Chinese New Year Celebration at Navy Pier with Redmoon Theatre is on Sat., Feb. 1, (6-7:30 p.m.) at the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom. Admission is free to the celebration at Navy Pier in Chicago. Navy Pier's beautiful indoor space will include poetic ritual environments featuring intermittent performance by Chicago-based Chinese cultural partners, masked performers, interactive creation stations, and spectacle devices. The Chicago Cubs will be sponsoring a fireworks display at Navy Pier that will include primarily red fireworks (with some silver and gold mixed in). Red is the color symbolic of luck, good fortune and joy in the New Year.

There are two parades this weekend. The Argyle Street New Lunar Parade, in Uptown, is on Sat., Feb. 1, at 1 p.m. The Chinese Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown on Sun., Feb. 2, at 1 p.m. The parade in Chinatown, which draws around 30,000 people, runs from Wentworth Ave. to 24th Place to Cermak Rd.. The Year of the Horse is celebrated with marching bands, colorful floats, traditional dragon and lion dance performances, a 100-foot paper dragon and more.

“China is one of Chicago's fastest-growing overseas markets,” said Don Welsh, President, Choose Chicago. “This year, the year of the horse, the Chinese New Year falls on Jan. 31 and will be celebrated during a two-week period, an opportunity for us to engage new communities, that is why the celebration will be unlike those in other cities, because rather than concentrate the festivities in Chinatown, there will be activities all over the City of Chicago.”

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