Macy's on State Street | Chicago Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year celebrations inspire excitement and festivities all over the globe and Chicago honors the holiday with a wealth of colorful events. February 8, 2016 marks the year of the red fire monkey, or the 4713th year in the Chinese lunar year. According to Chinese astrology, the monkey represents a year of fast-paced intensity and optimism as well as unpredictability. Here are some insider activities to usher in the Chinese New Year of the Monkey.

Dress and Home Preparations

Chinese New Year decorations

To welcome in a new year full of prosperity and good fortune, Chinese tradition recommends several things. First is to clean your house from top to bottom, sweeping toward the door to wipe out the bad luck of the previous year. There are also good luck charms and objects like bamboo plants that you can place around your house. Locals head to Chinatown Bazaar (2221 S. Wentworth) to stock up on jade monkey figures, red lanterns and other items that bring luck for the new year. In terms of dress, red is a harmonious color for the new year, especially for those born in the year of the Monkey. You can mix red into your attire in a low key way with red socks, red bracelets and red underwear. According to feng shui experts, you can also incorporate colors of the monkey fire element. Shades of red, yellow, orange, purple, magenta and pink are said to be lucky colors for the year of the Fire Monkey.


Foods to Eat for New Year Luck

Chinatown Square Chicago

Cuisine plays an important part in Chinese new year celebrations with specific foods representing positive energy. Oranges, tangerines and pomelos are popular to eat and display because the names for these fruits sound like "fortune". Dumplings are another favorite because they resemble Chinese gold ingots. Check out Chinatown restaurants like fine dining hot spot Cai (2100 S. Archer, 2F) for a delectable taste of shrimp stuffed dumplings. Whole fish is another new year mainstay because the word for fish sounds like "surplus". The head and tail must be attached to symbolize a good start and end for the year. Visit MingHin Cuisine (2168 S. Archer) for an elegant meal of steamed whole fish and remember to save some leftovers for the next day so that abundance will continue for the rest of the year.


Chinese New Year Events in Chicago

Symphony Center Chinese New Year Concert

From the windows at Macy's on State Street to the corridors of Bloomingdale's, you'll spot festive red decorations, grinning monkeys and pop-up shops and prizes to commemorate the new year but there are also many other events to enjoy for the rest of the month: Argyle Street Lunar New Year Parade will feature traditional lion and dragon dancers down Uptown's Argyle Street on Saturday, February 13 at 1PM. The Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade kicks off on Sunday, February 14 at 1PM, with a cavalcade of performers — but arrive early in the morning if you want a good viewing spot because this parade attracts huge crowds. Explore the history of the Monkey King at Asian Pop Up Cinema's presentation of the restored 1961 animated classic The Monkey King: Uproar in Heaven on February 17 at 7:30 PM. Delve into the essence of Chinese culture at the Arts & Culture Doc Fest, which showcases some rare documentaries that examine Chinese art, music, history and dance. Witness artists from China perform traditional and contemporary Chinese music during the Symphony Center's Chinese New Year Concert on February 21 at 3PM. 


From kid-friendly celebrations to festive parades and dinners, find a complete holiday lineup at

Learn about Chinatown and plan a visit with the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and the interactive maps on the Choose Chicago neighborhood guide.