origins of Chinese New Year • Chinese New Year is the first day of the lunar calendar, so it is also called the Lunar New Year. And it is also referred to as the Spring Festival since it is the beginning of the Spring term, which is the first term of the 24 terms on the lunar calendar.
The Chinese New Year begins on January 28, 1998. Chinese New Year is the most important and longest holiday in China. Chinese will begin celebrating on the New Year's Eve and the celebrations will last for 15 days.
Legend says the celebrations of Chinese New Year may be related to a beast known as Nian. The beast Nian came out to eat people on new years until an old man found a way to conquer it. Then people started to observe and celebrate Chinese New Year. The word "Nian" now has the same meaning as Chinese New Year, which is used as commonly as Chinese New Year. And people often use the term "Guo Nian", which may originally mean "passed or survived the Nian".
The lunar calendar is represented by twelve animals. Each year is represented by one animal. This year is the year of the tiger. The 12 animals in order are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.