Today is the first day of the new year according to the Chinese calendar, which is often called the lunar calendar. Actually, it is more accurate to call it a lunisolar calendar, indicating both the moon phase and the solar year. Besides the Chinese calendar, other lunisolar calendars include those from Hebrew, Hindu, Tibetan, Vietnamese, Mongolian, and Korean cultures. Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival because it used to refer to lichun, (February 4 or 5), the first of the 24 solar terms in a Chinese calendar year, marking the end of winter.
The traditional celebration begins on the eve of the Chinese New Year, characterized by family gatherings, good food, and hopes for a better new year. Millions of people travel back home to be with family for this holiday, much like Thanksgiving in the U.S. Celebrations include gala events, fireworks, lion dances, and a variety of magic and comedy shows. CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala is the most watched program on the eve of the Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year is also characterized by the exchange of gifts among relatives and friends, much like Christmas. Kids receive red envelopes with "lucky money" on the morning of the new year. On the second day of the new year, people continue to visit relatives and friends bearing gifts. Overall, it is a time of family, food, and fun!
If you would like to be a part of Chinese New Year, here are a few local celebrations:
Sunday, 2/22/2015, 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm, The Walters Art Museum
Celebrate the Lunar Year of the Sheep with art activities and traditional Chinese performances
Here's wishing you happiness, longevity, and prosperity!!!