Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year begins according to the Chinese calendar. This calendar is based on two different systems and New year can begin any time between late January and mid-February. Each year takes its name from 12 animal names. So, year names are repeated every 12 years. January 23 2012 was the first day of the Chinese New Year-Year of the Dragon.
Chinese New Year is the longest and the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays.
People spend money to buy decoration, presents, clothing and food. Housewives also clean the houses in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good in coming luck. On New Year's Eve, people get together to have a meal which include pig, duck, chicken and sweet deicacies. They also end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning children willl greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year and receive money in red paper envelopes.
Celebrations start on the first day of the new yera and end with Lantern festival which is on the 15th day.
During the celebration people wear red clothes because red symbolizes fire which according to legend can drive away dad luck.
The highlight of th Lantern Festival is the dragon dance. The dragon-which might be a hundred feet long-is made of silk, paper and bamboo. The dragon is held by young men who dance as they guide the colourful beast through the streets.
New Year's Day is also called Lunar New Year and in China it is known as "Spring Festival".