Chinese New Year 2015: Year of the Sheep
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese Year 4713 begins on Feb. 19, 2015.
Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar (like us, Indians!), with each month beginning on the darkest day (Amavasya). New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.
A Charming New Year
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in sheep years are often artistic, charming, sensitive, and sweet. It is known as the most creative sign in the Chinese zodiac. Jane Austen, Boris Becker, Jamie Foxx, Mel Gibson, Michelangelo, Mark Twain, Rudolph Valentino, Barbara Walters, Bruce Willis, and Orville Wright were born in the year of the sheep.
Chinese New Year is the most important and popular festival for Chinese people.
Have you wondered how do modern Chinese people prepare for the New Year? Let’s take a look at a few things that Chinese do in preparation of the New Year.
1. 回家（huí jiā ）Go home.
For most of young adults in China, they mainly work in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and so on. So every person who wants to go back home will face the ” spring rush”, which is call “chūn yùn ” in Chinese. This is the largest annual movement of people in the world. So the parents who live in the hometown will worry about their kids’ journey to go home because of the limited amount of tickets and holiday traffic. But after the kids reach home, parents will relax and begin to enjoy the festival.
2. 办年货（bàn nián huò）To buy things for Spring Festival.
Before the New Year, Chinese families will go to the market to buy a few celebratory items such as:
A. Chinese New Year crafts like upside down “Fu”, which means good fortune, happiness, and luck. When the “Fu” is upside down, it means that luck and happiness is coming. So you will see many households have this in order to bring luck and happiness to their lives.
B. 对联（duì lián）antithetical couplet.
There are two lines of poetry with a horizontal scroll bearing an inscription (usually hung over a door and flanked by two vertical scrolls forming a couplet). This item is used to bring in the fortune and luck that the New Year will bring.
C. 灯笼（dēnɡ lonɡ）Lantern.
Chinese will bring in the holiday with this commonly used Chinese New Year decoration. Families always hang the lanterns on the door front or inside the house.
D.食材(shí cái) food ingredients
Also, Chinese families will prepare ingredients for New Year’s food. Some kinds of meat and vegetables are used to cook dumplings, hotpot and Tangyuan. Chinese families will use specific ingredients to symbolize different hopes and blessing for the upcoming holiday.
E.鞭炮和烟花(biān pào hé yān huā) Firecracker and Fireworks
Firecrackers and fireworks will be launched right after 12:00PM on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the coming of the New Year. It is the most common celebration as it brings in the new year while keeping demons and evil spirits away.
3. 红包（hónɡ bāo）red packet
The Red packets are red envelopes with money inside. The adults, especially married couple will give the red packets to the young children in the New Year days. The money in the red packet will keep children healthy, and bless them a long life.
4. 打扫房子（dá sǎo fánɡ zi ）Cleaning
A week before the Chinese New Year, people will clean their house as clean as possible. This cleaning purpose is to remove the old and welcome the new. They believe it to help them bring in fortune and luck for the New Year.
Taken from http://www.touchchinese.com