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Lunar New Year celebrations

Explore Asian culture and traditions at these holiday events.
By D.L. Hopkins |

Vietnamese legend has it that lighting firecrackers wards off bad fortune. Prepare for plenty of luck: At the Argyle Street New Year Parade, a helmet-wearing official sparks a reported two grand worth of explosives. To honor your ancestors, try bánh chung. Sticky rice dish hawkers, including Ba Le Sandwich and Bakery (5016 N Broadway St), sell it near the promenade route, which is located in an area full of Vietnamese restaurants, bakeries and food shops. Steps off at Argyle St and Sheridan Ave (847-852-6223). Jan 28 at 1pm; free.

Historic lion dancing—the kind at this solstice celebration—dates back a millennium, yet the performance never gets old. During the Chinese New Year Family Style Dumpling-Making Dinner, the Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute teaches basic Chinese New Year rites, like how to prepare ceremonious glutinous, sugary rice balls, which symbolize a sweet family reunion. Hing Kee Restaurant, second floor, 2140 S Archer Ave (312-842-1988). Sat 21 and Sun 22, 3–5:30pm; $50.

Abuelita, Bubbe, Nana—every ethnicity has an affectionate term for Granny. At this Seol Nal (Lunar New Year) party, you may find halmoni donning authentic, flowy formal wear and playing the board game Yut Nori with kids. Partiers can broaden their knowledge of Korean customs by eating soup and rice cakes; and engaging in fan demonstrations, calligraphy instruction and a ritual flute presentation. Multilingual Chicago, 2934 N Milwaukee Ave, suite C (773-292-7676). Sun 22, 1–4pm; free.

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