Chinese New Year is observed for two consecutive weeks, and is popularly known as Spring Festival. It usually starts from late January and early February. The variation in the date of festival is due to the changes in the track of the new moon. The Spring Festival ends on the 15th day when the Lantern festival is celebrated.
In 2012, Chinese New Year’s Day will be celebrated on January 23. The New Year festival will start from January 22 Chinese New Year' Eve and end on February 6 Lantern Festival. 2012 marks the 4710th Chinese New Year, and this time it is the year of dragon according to the Chinese zodiac calendar.
The dragon is the 5th sign of the Chinese zodiac and it is regarded as an auspicious symbol which stands for power, good luck, success, and happiness.
History of the New Year Celebration
Since ancient times, the Chinese New Year was considered as the time to honor ancestors and heavenly deities. In addition, it was the time to organize family gatherings and grand feasts.
There is a legend associated with the celebration of New Year in China. There was a monster named Nian who used to harass the villagers by eating their crops, cattle and taking away their kids. The villagers had no other option but to place food at the entrance to their homes so that the monster would eat it and go away without harming them.