Year of the horse - Chinatown Parade photo gallery

Chicago's annual Chinese New Year Parade kicked off along the 2400 block of South Wentworth in the Chinatown neighborhood a little after 1:00 p.m Sunday. Before the parade started, firecrackers exploded to ring in the new year! It’s the Lunar New Year and the Chinese Year of the Horse.

It was reported nearly 20,000 people came out in a chilly but very sunny beautiful day in Chicago.  ABC7 Eyewitness News anchor Judy Hsu served as the Grand Marshal of this year's parade. It was filed with decorative floats, marchers, marching bands, community leaders, politicians the Chinese Consul General and a number of  traditional dragon, lion dancers. Politicians marching in today's parade included Senator Dick Durbin, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Alderman including Danny Solis and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The Chinese New Year is an important celebration all over the world. There are similar celebrations in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival. The horse is part of a 12-year-cycle of animals that make up the Chinese zodiac. These interact with the five elements: wood, metal, fire, water, earth. 2014 is the year of the wood horse, taking over from the year of the water snake.

Here are photos from today's celebration.

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