Chicago celebrates the Year of the Tiger

by on 週三, 10 二月 2010 評論

It is the sound of firecrackers bursting through a quiet night and the sight of vivid orange and red dragon or lion costumes coming to life at a street parade. It’s also the taste of fresh oranges and pomelos that help to fill the senses of those ready to take in the Lunar New Year celebration known as Chinese New Year. For centuries, the Chinese have viewed their New Year as a time of good luck and fortune in anticipation of a new beginning. While the actual day changes based on the Lunar calendar, the New Year is celebrated on the first day of the first moon in the calendar. This year it falls on February 14, and families celebrate for a total of fifteen days. 2010 also ushers in the year of the Tiger, a sign of bravery.


This two-week break means Chinese and Taiwanese families gather together, eating homemade meals and enjoying each other’s company. For the children, it’s also a time to revel in getting lucky red envelopes filled with money or“hong bao,”in Mandarin.


While a holiday steeped in tradition and centred in the Eastern part of the world, Chinese New Year celebrations take place beyond Asia.


Kim Ow, 76, has lived in Chicago for over 40 years, and says he and his family always celebrate Chinese New Year. Ow came from Hong Kong to the States as a young teen, and continues to keep the Chinese holiday alive for his first generation Chinese American family.


AnnaTesauro_Chinatown2_s“For the Chinese, it’s what you grow up in and believe in. When I was a kid, the most important day was Chinese New Year.


We eat good food, get red envelopes and light off firecrackers,” he said.


As a Chicagoan, Ow watches the annual Chinese New Year Parade held in Chinatown in Chicago. The parade includes a lion and dragon dance, something Ow used to participate in when he was in his thirties.

In addition to Ow’s wife and five grown children, his brother and two sisters come with their families for a big dinner, which he says includes mushroom with pork and most importantly, chicken. “My wife is Buddhist, so we pray, too,” he adds. For dessert, they enjoy homemade pastries. True to tradition, the children receive their lucky red envelopes. As first generation Chinese American children, Ow admits his children are more American than Chinese, but he notes, “they still believe in Chinese holidays.”



Andy Siharath, of the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce notes that Chinatown initially began developing in 1920 and has progressed ever since. Every year, the city holds the lunar New Year parade for the entire city to enjoy. This year’s parade will include marching bands, floats, lion teams, a hundred foot mystical dragon, and the Miss Friendship Ambassador for Illinois.


Today, Chinatown is home to an estimated 18,000 Chinese, with about 68,000 Chinese living in the entire city of Chicago.





Anna Tesauro

Originally from the very windy city of Chicago, Anna left her reporting job last October to spend the year exploring and teaching in Taiwan.\nIn addition to a very welcomed snow-less winter, Taiwan has given her many spunky and entertaining students to write home about, as well as breathtaking sights to capture in pictures. From day trips to Danshui or weekend stays in Kenting, Taiwan has opened her eyes to the beauty of this island and its people. \nWith a passion for writing and meeting new people, she hopes to merge the two and hopefully share stories about life that go beyond Eastern and Western culture.





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