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Grrrrrr-eat Ways to Celebrate Year of the Tiger

By Laura M. Browning in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 27, 2010 10:45PM

Photo by buy_a_duck

Chinese New Year is actually a 15-day festival that both celebrates the beginning of the lunar new year and, as the legend goes, uses bright lights and loud noises to frighten off the wild beast that appears at the end of each year. Apparently many Chinese get a full week off to celebrate. We can’t help you with that, but there are still some pretty fun ways to celebrate the Year of the Tiger in Chicago.

Artistic types can ring in the new year learning Chinese brush calligraphy from artist Bruce Iverson, who is teaching four Chicago-area classes between February 10 and February 28, including a one-day workshop at the Evanston Art Center on Sunday, February 14. If you’re more a spectator than artist, Iverson will also be doing a free demonstration of the traditional “Hseih-I” style of Chinese brush painting at the Palette & Chisel Academy on Thursday, February 11, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Bruce Iverson’s free demonstration of Chinese brush painting is Thursday, February 11, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Palette & Chisel Academy, 1012 N. Dearborn.

If you feel like braving the throngs of tourists at Navy Pier, you can celebrate with an afternoon packed with family-friendly activities. Starting at noon, check out dance troupes, martial arts demos, and song and dance (and even a fashion show!) presented by the Chinese Fine Arts Society. The festivities go non-stop until 5:30 p.m. We admit to being curious about the all-male voice ensemble performing a song called “Girls Over There Are Watching Us.”

Chinese New Year at Navy Pier: Year of the Tiger 4708, Sunday, February 14 at Navy Pier’s Crystal Gardens from 12:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Further south, Chinatown’s annual Lunar New Year Parade kicks off at 1:00 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. If you don’t usually head south of Roosevelt, we strongly suggest you reconsider: a 100-foot mystical dragon joins the parade of marching bands and floats, and activities will begin as early as 11:30 a.m.

Gung Hay Fat Choi!

The spectacular Lunar New Year Parade begins at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 14, on Wentworth from 24th Street to Cermak Road.