Chinese New Year
The celebration takes place around February 15th. It is popularly recognized as the Spring Festival and the celebration lasts for 15 days. Preparations tend to begin a month from date of the Chinese New Year (similar to a Western Christmas), when people start buying presents, decorations materials, food and clothing. A huge clean up gets underway days before the New Year, when Chinese houses are cleaned from top to bottom, to sweep away any traces of bad luck, and doors and windowpanes are given a new coat of paint, usually red. The doors and windows are then decorated with paper cuts and couplets with themes such as happiness, wealth and longevity printed on them. Dinner is usually a feast of seafood and dumplings, signifying different good wishes. After dinner, the family sit up for the night playing cards, board games or watching TV programs dedicated to the occasion. On the day itself, an ancient custom called Hong Bao, meaning Red packet, takes place. This involves married couples giving children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes.