Happy Chinese New Year!

Celebrations have begun for the most important traditional holiday in countries all around the world that have significant Chinese populations, as documented by Wikipedia. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese new year vary widely. People buy presents, decorations, fireworks and food. It all wraps up on February 15th this year with The Lantern Festival where families walk in the streets carrying lighted lanterns.

It is a tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house before the new year to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors are decorated with red paper cut-outs and sayings with popular themes of "happiness", "wealth" and "longevity". On Chinese New Year's Eve, families feast on such items as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies. The family ends the night with firecrackers.

Early the next morning, children greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone. Here's hopping, er...hoping you have a good Year of the Rabbit.