Chinese New Year (also known as this or this) brings 15 days full of traditions and celebrations. The centuries-old holiday is like many others: Families reunite for big meals, gifts are exchanged, businesses close, and fireworks are displayed. For 2010, it's the year of the tiger.
Chinese New Year's origins can be traced back to the story of this mythical creature. Villagers believed the color red and these sounds would scare away the creature, which is why they are still part of Chinese New Year celebrations. The celebration's most-recognized dance is a symbol of prosperity and good luck.
Before celebrations begin, families do this to ensure good luck. All 15 days of Chinese New Year are filled with traditions, festivities and symbolism. Here are some of the highlights.
Day 1: New Year's celebrations begin at this time. Most people don't do this. These dancers may show up to ring in the new year.
Day 2: Married daughters get to do this, and dogs receive extra-special attention.
Day 7: It is believed that everyone grows one year older on this day. Many people eat this raw fish dish, and Chinese Buddhists don't do this.
Day 13: This day is dedicated to a god of war. After nearly two weeks of celebrations, many people eat simple dishes.
Day 15: Chinese New Year celebrations end with this luminous festival. Many people incorporate this dish into their meals.
Food is integral to Chinese New Year festivities. Family members travel far and wide for this annual dinner. Fish is served. Many of the dishes are thought to bring good luck the rest of the year.
Older family members hand out money in these envelopes. Many will wear this color of clothing, as well as brand-new clothes. Fruits (usually these), sweets and small gifts (never these) are exchanged between friends and relatives.