Here's some background information about Chinese New Year, the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar.
January 31, 2014 - The Chinese year 4712 is scheduled to begin.
2014 is the year of the Horse.
The Chinese New Year is celebrated during the second new moon after the winter solstice, usually between Jan. 21 and Feb. 19 on the Gregorian calendar.
Chinese New Year festivities begin on the 1st day of the month and continues until the 15th, when the moon is full.
Chinese legend holds that Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on New Year's Day and named a year after each of the twelve animals that came.
The animals in the Chinese calendar are the dog, pig/boar, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, and rooster.
Also according to legend, people born in each animal's year have some of that animal's personality traits.
Each day of the fifteen-day celebration has its own traditions, such as visiting in-laws or staying home to welcome good fortune.
Fireworks displays during Chinese New Year stem from a custom of lighting bamboo stalks on fire to ward off evil spirits. In China, families gather together for meals, especially for a feast on New Year's Eve.
Chinese New Year ends with the lantern festival, celebrated at night with displays and parades of painted lanterns.
The highlight of the Lantern Festival is the Dragon Dance. Beautiful dragons made of paper, silk and bamboo are held overhead, and appear to dance as they make their way along the parade routes.