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The Lunar New Year, often known as Chinese New Year, is an important holiday to many Asian cultures. The New Year is celebrated beginning at sunset on the day of the second new moon following winter solstice and continues through the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month. The beginning of these festivals usually occur between late January and the middle of February on the Western calendar. Some countries celebrate Lunar New Year at a different time; for example in Thailand the celebration is shifted to coincide with Buddhist traditions and the harvest cycle, usually in mid-April. Not all Asian countries observe this holiday; Japan, for example, does not observe Lunar New Year.
Some New Year traditions, such as red decorations, cleaning house before New Year’s day, and sharing meals to celebrate are shared by many Asian countries, but each country has its own distinct traditions.
Vietnamese traditions celebrate by decorating New Year flowers, such as orchids and peach blossoms, with red envelopes, and prepare for Lunar New Year by paying debts, buying new clothes, and getting a haircut before New Year ’s Day.
Tangerines, oranges, long noodles, and sweets, foods that reflect prosperity and a long and sweet life, are among the foods featured during Chinese New Year celebrations.
The Korean tradition observes Lunar New Year by spending time with family and remembering the departed.
Parades and events
Chicago is home to several Asian communities, and many free events will be held citywide from January 31 to February 16 welcoming the Year of the Horse.
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