Chinese New Year, the most important festival of the Chinese calendar, begins Feb. 18, 2007. The two-week celebration is a time for family unity and shared tradition. A great deal of preparation takes place to ensure the new year begins auspiciously.
- According to the Chinese calendar, we are in year 4705, the Year of the Boar (or Pig). Based on a 12-year cycle, 12 animals make up the Chinese zodiac. The boar is the last animal in the cycle.
- Famous people born in the Year of the Boar include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Letterman, Thomas Jefferson and Woody Allen.
- Red is the color of this holiday. It symbolizes fire, which the Chinese believe can drive away bad luck. People wear red clothes at New Year celebrations and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes, called “lai see.”
- The annual Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the first lunar month. The festival is the culmination of the holiday season, and it coincides with the first full moon of the year. Dragons, symbols of luck, are popular parade costumes. Legend says the lanterns were once life savers.
- Preparation for the New Year includes cleaning and sweeping, but if dirt is swept out the door, you could be sweeping your luck away. Traditionally, dirt gets swept toward the middle of the floor and then is carried outside.
- Oranges and tangerines are symbols for abundant happiness. During the New Year's celebration, people bring bags of oranges and tangerines when visiting family or friends. Tangerines with leaves intact assure that relationships remain secure. Many families will get tangerine plants during the holiday and decorate them with small red envelopes and other good luck charms.
- A dish of candy called a "Tray of Togetherness" is displayed and shared with guests. Each type of candy represents something positive for the new year:
candied melon - growth and good health red melon seed - dyed red to symbolize joy, happiness, truth and sincerity lychee nut - strong family relationships cumquat - prosperity (gold) coconut – togetherness peanuts - long life longnan - many good sons lotus seed - many children
- Although called "Chinese" New Year, other Asian countries celebrate the holiday as well. In Vietnam, the lunar new year is called Tet.
Here is a table of the order for the next 12 years..