What is Chinese New Year and how is it celebrated?

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The Chinese adopted the Western calendar in the early 20th Century and celebrate the New Year on January 1st like much of the world. That has not, however, lessened the excitement surrounding the Chinese New Year and its celebration. In fact, the Chinese New Year continues to be the most important economic and cultural holiday in China. The Chinese New Year is based off on the old Chinese lunar calendar and is celebrated in the middle of the twelfth month. It is a time to celebrate ancestors, which have been traditionally important to the Chinese culture.  In general, the family is central to the celebration as were gods in earlier times.  It is common knowledge that each year is to represent one of the twelve animals relating to the Zodiac.

The Chinese generally bring the family together in the same fashion that many Western cultures will do for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They relax from the stresses of their job and life in general. There are large parades and public gatherings. Many rituals take place to guarantee good fortune in the coming year. Examples of the rituals included shooting fireworks, ritual cleaning of the house, and paper sacrifices to the deities. Today the holiday is known as the Spring Festival. This is a very recent development and points to a more secular aspect to the celebration. Some of the traditions are at risk as younger people tend to have different ideas of how they would like to spend their week off of work or school.

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