Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is China’s most important traditional festival. The celebration begins Monday, Feb. 8.
Chinese enjoy the seven-day official public holiday and will be off work from New Year's Eve on Sunday, Feb. 7, to New Year's Day, on Saturday, Feb. 13.
The date of Chinese New Year is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, not the Gregorian calendar. But is always falls between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20.
As it turns out, 2016 is the year of the Monkey, according to the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle.
Other Monkey years include 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, and 2004. Monkey years are believed to be the most unlucky for people born in a year of the Monkey.
Although there are many interesting legends and stories explaining the start of the Chinese New Year festival, the main two reasons for the festival are:
- To celebrate a year of hard work, have a good rest, and relax with family.
- To wish for a lucky and prosperous coming year.
Chinese people believe that a good start to the year will lead to a lucky year. Chinese traditionally celebrated the start of a new year of farm work, and wished for a good harvest, when most were farmers. This has now evolved to celebrating the start of a new business year and wishing for profits and success in various vocations.
Families celebrate by eating reunion dinner, giving red envelopes, firecrackers, new clothes, and decorations.
Modern celebrations include watching the CCTV Gala, instant message greetings, and cyber money gifts.
The New Year's Eve reunion diner is believed to be the most important meal of the year. Big families of several generations sit around round tables and enjoy the food and time together, according to chinahighlights.com
Streets and buildings are decorated with red, the central color for festival, as it is believed to be an auspicious color.
The decorations include hanging red lanterns in streets, red couplets on doors, and official buildings have decorations of red New Year pictures portraying images of prosperity.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.