The Chinese New Year is very similar to the Western one, swathed in traditions and rituals.
The origin of the Chinese New Year is the longest chronological record in history, popularly recognised as the Spring Festival and celebrations last 15 days.
Preparations tend to begin a month from the date of the Chinese New Year (similar to a Western Christmas), when people start buying presents, decoration materials, food and clothing. A huge clean-up gets underway days before the New Year, when Chinese houses are cleaned from top to bottom, to sweep away any traces of bad luck. The doors and windows are then decorated with paper cuts and couplets with themes such as happiness, wealth and longevity printed on them.
The eve of the New Year is perhaps the most exciting part of the event, as anticipation creeps in. Here, traditions and rituals are very carefully observed in everything from food to clothing. Dinner is usually a feast of seafood and dumplings, signifying different good wishes. It's usual to wear something red as this colour is meant to ward off evil. At midnight the sky is lit up by fireworks.
On the day itself, an ancient custom involves married couples giving children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes. Then the family begins to say greetings from door to door, first to their relatives and then their neighbours.
The end of the New Year is marked by the Lantern Festival on the 15th day which also marked the first full moon of the year.
Although celebrations of the Chinese New Year vary, the underlying message is one of peace and happiness for family members and friends.