A Brief Overview of Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year has been celebrated for thousands of years. The holiday, which focuses on home and family, was the most important festival on the ancient Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year celebrates the beginning of a new lunar year. Traditional activities include exchanging red envelopes containing money, holding parades with Chinese Dancing Dragons, setting off fireworks, and cleaning the house.
Each new year is marked by one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals: horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, boar, rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, and snake. The Festival of Lanterns, which occurs on the last day of Chinese New Year celebrations, features paper lanterns created in the form of the animal of the year.
Today, many Asian families around the world celebrate Lunar New Year. While the holiday is widely celebrated in Asian countries, many cities in the United States hold large celebrations, too.