Chinese New Year Kicks Off In Chicago And Rest Of The World

(CBS) — Much of the world celebrated the New Year almost a month ago, but for millions the celebrations began Friday.

It was the first day of the Chinese New Year. Celebrations will last two weeks — with the last day falling on Valentine’s Day.

CBS 2’s Mai Martinez takes a look at how Chicago is welcoming the Year of the Wood Horse.

From Chinatown to downtown, people are ringing in the Chinese new year.

“It’s a very special time of year for Chinese families.  It’s similar Christmas or Chanukah in the Western tradition,” says Julie Tiao Ma of the Chinese Fine Arts Society.

Many in Chinatown were decked out in red for the new year, from hats to coats, and even nail polish — for good luck.

Wearing red isn’t the only tradition many embrace. Red envelopes are stuffed with money and given to kids and young, single people — for prosperity.

Some traditions aren’t as eagerly embraced.

“It’s tradition to not cut your hair or not shower during Chinese new year,” Amy Xie says.

So why is not showering a Chinese new year’s tradition? It’s because Chinese believe you could wash away your luck.

As with many traditions, there is some room for flexibility, and it also varies among different Asian cultures.

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