The Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Chinese New Year, is one of the most important traditional Chinese festivals. It marks the beginning of the lunar new year and usually falls between January 21 and February 20, depending on the lunar calendar.

The celebration lasts for 15 days, culminating in the Lantern Festival. Each year is associated with one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, rotating in a 12-year cycle. The festival is a time for family reunions, feasting, and various cultural and traditional activities.

Key traditions and customs during the Chinese Lunar New Year include:

  1. Family Reunion: People make an effort to return to their hometowns to celebrate with family members. It is a time for family unity and bonding.
  2. Cleaning and Decorations: Homes are thoroughly cleaned before the New Year to sweep away bad luck. Red decorations, representing good luck and happiness, are put up, including red lanterns, couplets, and various symbolic items.
  3. Lion and Dragon Dances: Colorful lion and dragon dances are performed in streets and public spaces to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck.
  4. Fireworks and Firecrackers: Traditional belief holds that loud noises scare away evil spirits. Fireworks and firecrackers are set off in abundance during the celebrations.
  5. Traditional Foods: Special foods are prepared and consumed during the festival. Dumplings, fish, spring rolls, and sticky rice cakes are among the traditional dishes, each carrying symbolic meanings related to good fortune and prosperity.
  6. Red Envelopes (Hongbao): Elders give red envelopes containing money to children and unmarried adults as a symbol of good luck and prosperity.
  7. Temple Visits: Many people visit temples during the New Year to pray for good fortune, health, and success in the coming year.
  8. Lantern Festival: The 15th day of the lunar new year marks the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated with the display of colorful lanterns and various activities.

The Chinese Lunar New Year is not only celebrated in China but also in various other countries with significant Chinese communities. It is a time of joy, festivity, and the embracing of cultural traditions.