By Megan Horst-Hatch
Ready to celebrate a new year — again? Say goodbye to the dragon, and get ready to celebrate the year of the snake on February 10. Celebrations aren’t limited to just that day, and in Chicago, there are plenty of cultural and historical events for observing the new year. From parades to museums to dance exhibitions, get ready to learn about the annual celebration and have fun with friends and family. Check out the following list of events to get started in your new year celebrations.
Chinese New Year Celebration at Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60624
Date: Feb. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Are you looking for some fun indoor activities to celebrate the Chinese New Year? Then add the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood to your list. The family-friendly event features dragon dancers, as well as traditional music and dances. For those up for a bit of a challenge, check out the conservatory’s themed scavenger hunt, which includes looking for plants that symbolize good luck, good fortunes and the snake. After you’ve completed the scavenger hunt, spend some time exploring the conservatory’s indoor display, totaling two acres and making it one of the top five largest conservatories in the country.
Chinese New Year at Daley Plaza
50 W. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602
Date: Feb. 11 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
If you work in the Loop, consider getting your lunch to go and check out a performance by the Chinese Fine Arts Society at Daley Plaza. The free event features traditional dance and music by performers from the Chicagoland area. Don’t forget to bundle up, as the one-hour event takes place outside. Founded in 1964, the Chinese Fine Arts Society’s mission is to promote the appreciation and education of Chinese culture, which it does with events throughout the year.
Express Talk at the Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
Date: Feb. 13 from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.
If you want to learn about Chinese art and only have 30 minutes to do it, then the Express Talk on “Year of the Snake” at the Art Institute of Chicago is for you. The tour is an abbreviated version of the Art Institute’s hour-long Gallery Talks, offering a quick overview on artwork associated with the year of the snake. Meet in Gallery 100 to start this tour, led by one of the museum’s lecturers. After the talk, explore the Art Institute’s extensive collection of bronzes, ceramics, jades and textiles from China.
Tea Ceremony at Winnetka-Northfield Public Library
768 Oak St.
Winnetka, IL 60093
Date: Feb. 16 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Can’t make it to the Chinese New Year parade this year? Then a cup of tea in the North Shore might be, well, your cup of tea. Angela Moy, the cultural event coordinator at the Shen Yun Performing Arts in Chicago, will provide an introduction to Chinese classical dance and music. A tea tasting will follow in this event geared toward adults. This free event takes place at the Lloyd Room of the Winnetka branch, and participants can register for the ceremony online.
Chinese-American Museum of Chicago
238 W. 23rd St.
Chicago, IL 60616
If you’re looking for a more historical take on the annual new year, then check out the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago. Located in Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood, the museum features artifacts from China that include statues and tapestries. Some items on display are artifacts previously showcased in the former Ling Long Museum. Other exhibits at the museum include “My Chinatown,” which shares the stories of people who have lived in Chinatown and focuses on their culture and traditions.
Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.