In case you weren’t aware, Chinese New Year 4706 began on February 7 this year. Chinese New Year is the longest and most important holiday in the Chinese calendar. This is the year of the rat. Celebrations in Chinatown, Philadelphia began on February 7 and continue for the three following Sundays. So if you missed the celebrations in Chinatown for the last couple of Sundays, you can still catch it this weekend! The parade continues around Chinatown for the majority of the day…with crowds following along as the dragons go into neighborhood stores, wishing luck and setting off firecrackers outside to frighten away evil spirits. So if you do make it out for the parade, just a tip: bring good earplugs. And safety goggles might not be a bad idea either (you get up-close and personal with those firecrackers - I got hit in the face a few times). ;)I met up with some friends in Chinatown this past Sunday to follow the parade down 10th Street…and later being greeted by the parade itself while we were actually in a store…with the parade of dragons and other parade folk making their way up and down the aisles of the store. It was a fun day and definitely an experience worth checking out if you’ve never been to the celebrations yet.