In a deafening blitz of pyrotechnics, more than a billion Chinese will ring in the new lunar year – the 4,710th of the Chinese calendar, if you’re counting.
But the festivities will run over the next 15 days until the first full moon, with ample opportunities for visitors to get in on the action at New Year events across the mainland and Hong Kong. Just don’t forget your lucky red underwear.
The longest and most important holiday in the Chinese calendar—it goes on for 15 days and culminates in the Lantern Festival—Chinese New Year is known as the Spring Festival in China, where it marks the end of winter.
On the day before Chinese New Year, families gather for a traditional feast, known as Chú Xi or Eve of the Passing Year. The meal includes dumplings in the shape of gold nuggets (to ensure prosperity) and plenty of sweets. After the meal, at the stroke of midnight, the family sets off fireworks to welcome the Chinese Heaven God and ensure that he showers them with wealth in the year ahead. “This is the only time when the entire family must unite,” explains Shauna Mei “This has been a tradition for thousands of years
Chinese New Year is a time to forgive and forget any personal grievances and to wish everyone peace and happiness. Houses are given a thorough cleaning to symbolically sweep away any lingering bad luck and to make way for good luck. Walls are painted, new clothes are worn—from the inside out, says Shauna—hair is cut, and paper cutouts of auspicious phrases are hung throughout the home.