Chinese New Year 2010

Art & Architecture, Food & Drink, Shopping
February 18, 2010 12:16 pm

The Ox is out — make way for the Year of the Tiger! If it’s your year (if your birthday was in 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998… or 2010), you are supposed to wear an article of red clothing every day for good luck. Apparently, a red scarf or even earrings will suffice, so that could be doable! Tigers are unselfish, independent, daring, impulsive and noble.

We’re both big fans of Chinese New Year celebrations. Tara went to the parade this year in Chicago’s Chinatown, and growing up, Karina has celebrated the holiday with her family.

The present: Chicago does it right

This year, like many, Wentworth Avenue was packed with Chicagoans wandering the streets and hanging out in every dim sum joint and bakery in Chinatown hours before the parade. Unlike in China, when not a single person works during the New Year, all the Chicago restaurants, shops and bakeries face the biggest business days of the year. Here’s a look at this year’s parade and celebration, from behind throngs of onlookers.

Tara for TKGO

The past: A family tradition

In early elementary school, Chinese New Year was about gold coins, red envelopes and re-reading Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year (great book, by the way). Once my family adopted my little sister from China when I was nine, celebrating the holiday became much more involved. My family joined the local chapter of Families with Children from China, and my mom became one of the group’s organizers. In fact, one of her major annual undertakings was planning and executing the organization’s Chinese New Year celebration. The events were cultural blowouts of food, (hello, unlimited Chinese buffet) music, activities and performances. We took over a restaurant for it every year, and the event sold out every year. We had lion dances, yo-yo artists, ribbon dancing, martial arts and one year, a famous Chinese paper cutter.

I always looked forward to the event, and now that I’m away from home for the holiday, each year when the day comes around, I feel as though I am missing something.

Karina for TKGO

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