Chinese New Year marks the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year. Every year is represented by a zodiac animal sign.
What Do People Do?
Chinese New Year is the most important and longest of all Chinese festivals, celebrated in Chinese communities worldwide. Chinese New Year activities include: making offerings to household deities, wearing new clothes, particularly in red, hosting a large banquet for family and friends and taking part in lion and dragon dances, as well as festive parades featuring acrobatic demonstrations, beating gongs, and clashing cymbal.
Many children receive “lucky money” in red envelopes and household doors are open to let good luck enter on Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year may also include a lantern festival, where people hang decorated lanterns in temples and carry lanterns to an evening parade.
What's Open or Closed?
Chinese New Year is a public holiday in China, which lasts for a few days. It is also a public holiday in countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam.
It is not a public holiday in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom or the United States. However, some businesses may close early and some streets may be closed for a short while to allow for festival parades to take place.
About Chinese New Year
This festival is believed go as far back as prehistory. It marks the start of the new lunar cycle and is called the Spring Festival (in the northern hemisphere) as it falls between the December solstice and the March equinox. China follows the Gregorian calendar for daily business but the dates of the Chinese New Year and other important festivals are determined by the Chinese calendar.
The Chinese New Year, which is the first day of the first month, in the Chinese calendar is assigned to an animal. According to one belief, Buddha promised gifts to all animals that would pay him homage. Only 12 animals came to honor Buddha so, to favor these 12 animals, each one was given one of the 12 years of the Chinese zodiac. People born during one of the animal's years are said to inherit distinctive characteristics of that animal. The signs repeat every 12 years.