With regards to the New Year Chinese traditionally reserve this time for giving thanks, and for spending time with family. Although not as prevalent in this day and age, originally Chinese New Year dates were highlighted with a special ceremony recognizing Heaven and Earth, a family's ancestors and also the gods of the household. Particular respect and revelry were paid to the family ancestors on whose shoulders traditionally lay all the fortunes and success of a Chinese family. So you can see that when it comes to the New Year Chinese tradition is very strong and revered.
Throughout the period of celebration, Chinese New Year cards are visible in and around the household.
The New Year Chinese holiday lasts for 15 days and begins with the new moon on the first day of the New Year, and ends on a full moon two weeks later. The renowned "Lantern Festival" marks the end of the New Year Chinese celebration on the 15th and final day. Small children parade through the city carrying lanterns. The Chinese New year is based on the Chinese calendar, which is based on a lunar cycle that lasts 29.5 days.
The first day of the New Year Chinese holiday and the Lunar New Year is set aside to welcome and pay respect to the gods of the heavens and earth. On this first day, many Chinese do not eat meat in the belief that by doing so it will ensure long and happy lives for them.
On the second day of the New Year Chinese holiday, the Chinese set aside Chinese New Year dates to pray to their ancestors. The Chinese are also extra kind to dogs. The second day of the Chinese New Year is also known as "the Day of the Dog". Son-in-laws set aside the third and fourth days of the Chinese New Year to pay respect to their in-laws. If the in-laws are deceased, they pray for them.
The fifth day of the New Year Chinese celebration is called Po Woo. On this particular day the Chinese people stay in their homes to welcome the God of Wealth! Visitors are not allowed during this day as it will bring both the guest and the host bad luck.
From the sixth to the 10th day of the New Year Chinese celebration, relatives and friends are free to visit as they please. The Chinese also are encouraged to pray in temples.
The seventh day of the Chinese New Year's celebration is a day for farmers to display their vegetables! The farmers also use their produce to create seven different kinds of liquor to help celebrate the occasion. The seventh day is also considered a birthday for all humans. So tradition calls for the eating of noodles and fish to promote a long and successful life. It's easy to see how important these Chinese New Year dates are to the Chinese culture.
During the eighth day, Chinese families get together for yet another dinner, highlighted by family prayer at midnight. On the ninth day of the New Year Chinese celebration the families make offerings to the Jade Emperor.
Well, with all this eating you would think that the Chinese would take some kind of New Years Eve break. But no such luck. On the 10th through the 12th days of the New Year Chinese holiday, friends and relatives are invited over for dinner. I guess you can call the 13th day a new years eve break of sorts as the Chinese take the day off to purge their systems so they can continue partying on the 14th and 15th!
The 14th day of the Chinese New Year is spent preparing to celebrate the Lantern Festival. There are many Chinese New Year decorations put out in the streets and in the home.
You can see that more food is consumed during these 15 days than any other time of the year. Additionally, Chinese New Year cards are exchanged between friends and relatives. Chinese New Year cards are often sent out to friends inviting them over on specific days to eat dinner. The Chinese New Year card is one of the few Chinese traditions that were influenced by Western culture.
Finally on the 15th and final day, the Chinese family will eat a vegetable dish called "jai". This is a special meal to ward of evil spirits.
Happy New Year!