Chinese New Year is an important holiday on the Chinese calendar that celebrates the start of the New Year in accordance with the lunar and solar calendar known as the lunisolar calendar. It is traditionally known as the Chinese Lunar New Year which also celebrates the coming of spring. The Chinese New Year festivities begin on the first day of the new month in the Chinese calendar and concludes with the Lantern Festival observed on the fifteenth day. The Chinese New Year Eve known as the Chú XÄ« is also celebrated on a grand scale with a family reunion dinner.
The Chinese New Year is declared in accordance with the lunar calendar and hence it different every year. The lunar calendar is based on the shorter cycle of the phases of the moon unlike the solar calendar, which has 365 days in a year, based on the movement of the earth around the sun. So based on the lunar calendar, the Chinese new year traditionally occurs any day between 21st January to 20th February. While the Chinese New Year was observed on February 3 in 2011, it is slated to fall on January 23 in 2012.
The color red occupies a symbolic significance during the celebrations of the Chinese New Year. People traditionally wear festive red clothes. The children in the family greet their parents while the elders in the family gift the children with red envelopes containing money. Just like any festive celebration, the Chinese New Year celebrations is also marked by family get-togethers, preparation of traditional festive foods, decorating the house with red color paper and poems focusing on the themes of wealth, longevity and happiness. The focus of the celebrations is to forget all past grudges and misfortunes and wish for good luck and prosperity for everyone in the New Year.
Chinese New Year is an important Chinese holiday observed in East and South-East Asia. It is celebrated popularly in Mainland China and in countries having large numbers of Chinese people which includes Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Macau and Tibet. In fact Chinese New Year is celebrated in Chinese communities, known as Chinatowns, world wide. Besides, the Chinese New Year has greatly influenced the New Year celebrations of its neighboring nations such as the Tibetan New Year, Korean New Year, Japanese New Year, Vietnamese New Year and the Mongolian New Year.
The New Year celebrations in China may traditionally last for nearly a month though nowadays the Chinese New Year celebrations generally last for a fortnight. In ancient times the celebrations extended for a longer period as China was basically an agrarian economy and the farmers took the time off for rest and relaxation as new plants couldn’t be sown in the winter months. The Chinese New Year is also celebrated as the “spring Festival” as it marks the beginning of the spring season.