Chinese New Year (Gua Nian) 2014 falls on January 31. Enter the Year of the Horse. Exit Snake. The Chinese calendar, based on the phases of the moon, dates back many centuries, Euronews informs.
Many people working far from home in China return to family ahead of the two-week holiday period. The financially well-off travel to resorts.
The holiday is bright, colourful and loud, with lots of fireworks (posing safety and pollution risks), lanterns, dragon and lion dancing, feasting and symbolic food-offering and visits to Buddhist and Taoist temples.
Some of the traditions attached are: giving red envelopes with money in them to children, making amends and getting a haircut.
Festivities also happen in other Asian countries, and in Chinese communities around the world. In Hong Kong especially, horse racing is very big on the first day of the New Year.