Each Chinese New Year is designated as “the year of” one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac, which animal is supposed to characterize that year and all those born in it.
It has been celebrated for over 1,000 years – possibly much longer, and the traditions involved are deeply ingrained in Chinese culture.
For many, it is also a religious holiday, full of prayers, offerings, and other acts of devotion.
New clothes, to be worn on New Year’s Day, and a large stash of food for New Year’s Eve dinner, are also purchased in advance, making the shopping centres very busy this time of year. Greeting cards are also commonly exchanged.
The 15th and final day, Chap Goh Mei is also a big event, where houses are decorated with an abundance of brightly coloured lights. It is a way of ending with a grand finale rather than the festivities just fading away gradually.
Chinese New Year is also called “Spring Festival” and “Lunar New Year” because it comes in the spring time and is dated based on the Chinese lunar calendar. It is the most important annually recurring festival for people of Chinese ancestry all over the world. Houses are cleaned out thoroughly before it arrives to “sweep out any bad luck,” but brooms are hidden away on New Year’s Day for fear of “sweeping away the good luck” that the arrival of a new year brings.Chinese New Year is actually celebrated for 15 consecutive days, but the first three days are most important.
Source: The Economic Times