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The Chinese New Year begins Jan. 28. How are you celebrating? (PHOTO: Bobby Tanzilo)

5 ways to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Milwaukee

It's almost time to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which falls on Jan. 28. The holiday is generally observed beginning Jan. 27 (New Year's Eve) and is celebrated for approximately two weeks.

According to Chinese tradition, 2017 will mark a turn in events. It is the year of the fire rooster, during which it is said that people will be more polite and less stubborn, although they will have the tendency to complicate things. It is also predicted that 2017 will be a year oriented towards progress, honor and integrity.

Traditionally called the "Spring Festival," the New Year marks the end of the coldest part of winter, offering up an opportunity to look forward to warmer months. It's also a time for making amends, seeking reconciliation and re-establishing old ties.

Whether or not you believe those predictions, the Chinese New Year is a great time to learn more about – and exercise an appreciation for – Chinese culture. And here are five (delicious and fun) ways you can do just that.

1. Golden Gate Restaurant Lion dance show, Jan. 28

Enjoy a free performance by the Shaolin Center lion dancers at the Golden Gate Restaurant, 1427 E. Racine Ave. in Waukesha, at 2 p.m. The celebration will also include firecrackers, music and the gifting of traditional red envelopes filled with lucky money. A special Chinese New Year dinner menu will also be served at the restaurant from Jan. 27-Feb. 5.

2. Family activity at Tippecanoe Library, Jan. 28

From 2 to 3 p.m., head to the community room at the Tippecanoe Library, where you can listen to stories, learn about Chinese culture and make a craft to ring in the Year of the Rooster. Get more information at mpl.org.

3. Enjoy a special menu at dandan, Jan. 26-28

The folks at dandan, 360 E. Erie St., are celebrating with a special menu featuring items commonly enjoyed during a traditional Chinese New Year celebration.

The pre fixe menu serves two for $60 and includes:

  • Pork and Chinese chive dumpling served with spicy dipping sauce
  • Banana leaf steamed bass with ginger, garlic, black bean and spicy sesame oil
  • Lion head meatballs served with rice noodles and aromatic broth
  • Sweet bites including an egg tart, mango pudding and walnut cookie

The special menu offerings can also be supplemented with selections from the regular dandan menu.

4. Chinese New Year at RuYi, Jan. 28-Feb. 11

RuYi at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, 1721 W. Canal St., will host an extended Chinese New Year celebration focused on the Year of the Rooster. Festivities will include a special menu featuring salt and pepper shrimp, Chinese braised beef brisket, chicken hong siu gai and twice cooked pork. All customers who order from the special menu will receive a lucky red envelope containing a special gift. Lion dance performances will also be featured on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.

5. Chinese New Year Party, Feb. 4

The Milwaukee Chinese Community Center will hold a Chinese New Year party at the Franklin High School Sabor Center for the Performing Arts, 8222 S. 51st St. Festivities, which include performances by students from the Milwaukee Modern Chinese School and MCCC Dance Troupe, begin at 2:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $16 for adults and children over 8 years old and $8 for children under 8. Admission is free for Milwaukee Modern Chinese School students, teachers and volunteers. More information is available at the MCCC web site.

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