16 Jan 2012 11:41 PM

Celebrate Chinese New Year 2012

Chinese New Year, sometimes called the Spring Festival, Chinese Lunar New Year or simply the Lunar New Year, is the largest and most important annual festival celebrated by Chinese and Chinese descendants around the world. The first day of the 2012 Chinese New Year will be celebrated on Monday, 23rd January and will be the year of the Dragon.

The festival will usually last for as long as 15 days, beginning with a family reunion dinner on the Lunar New Years Eve where family members will gather for a sumptuous feast. It is also the tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of "happiness", "wealth", and "longevity". Food will include such items as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies ending the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes.

Traditional dishes served at the New Year's Eve dinner may include:

Buddha's Delight – a vegetarian dish traditionally enjoyed by Buddhist monks, a type of black hair-like algae, pronounced "fat choy" in Cantonese, is also featured in the dish for its name, which sounds like "prosperity".

Noodles - Families may serve uncut noodles, which represent longevity and long life, though this practice is not limited to the New Year.

Mandarin Oranges – are the most popular fruit during Chinese New Year. Jin ju – translated to golden tangerine or the name gik in teochew dialect is a homophone of 'luck' and 'fortune'.

Jua Gok - The main Chinese new year dumpling. It is believed to resemble ancient Chinese gold ingots.

Chinese New Year festivals are celebrated across East and South East Asia. Festivals in Australia occur in all major cities throughout the New Year, incorporating markets, lion or dragon dancing, food stalls and of course fireworks. Events in Sydney's Haymarket and Cabramatta, and Melbourne's China Town and Crown Casino, draw large crowds each year. For more information on Chinese New Year Festivals in your city, visit

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