Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the new year is called the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade
The Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. The lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. In order to "catch up" with the solar calendar the Chinese insert an extra month once every few years (seven years out of a 19-yearcycle). This is the same as adding an extra day on leap year. This is why, according to the solar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year.
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. The celebration was traditionally highlighted with a religious ceremony given in honour of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and the family ancestors
The sacrifice to the ancestors, the most vital of all the rituals, united the living members with those who had passed away. Departed relatives are remembered with great respect because they were responsible for laying the foundations for the fortune and glory of the family.
The presence of the ancestors is acknowledged on New Year's Eve with a dinner arranged for them at the family banquet table. The spirits of the ancestors, together with the living, celebrate the onset of the New Year as one great community. The communal feast called "surrounding the stove" or weilu. It symbolizes family unity and honor the past and present generations.
The start of the lunar year is just around the corner, and millions across the world are preparing to celebrate Chinese New Year.In the Chinese lunar calendar, each year is signified by an animal from the Chinese zodiac cycle. 2016 will be Year of the Red Fire Monkey, and will start on 8th February.
What does this mean for you if you were born in the Year of the Red Fire Monkey? Birth years in the 20th century include 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932 and 1920. Unfortunately, when the year of your birth sign rolls round, the Chinese believes that you will suffer bad luck for all 52 weeks.
People in their birth year are said to offend Tai Sui, the God of Age, and so they have to be on their best behaviour for the whole 365 days. Tough call, fire monkeys. Turn your luck around by wearing red, donning jade accessories and by facing in the right direction by the compass. Yes, you did read that correctly. Southwest for you unfortunate monkeys in 2016.
The day will be marked by lion dances, firecrackers and the giving of gifts. Here's everything you need to know about Chinese New Year.