Chinese New Year is here, and it's time to say goodbye to the Year of the Rat and hello to the Year of the Ox.

Also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, this 15-day celebration in China and Chinese communities around the world takes place sometime between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20 and begins with the new moon. It was a time to honor the household, heavenly deities and ancestors, according to tradition.

"Ruby’s Chinese New Year" author Vickie Lee described it as "the most important and the most popular holiday for Chinese people and in the Chinese culture," USA Today reported.

With Chinese New Year set to begin this Friday, here are 12 superstitions and beliefs that have long been observed during the annual holiday, according to CNN, and China Highlights.

1. Eating porridge for breakfast is a no-no

Porridge is considered to be a "poor man's breakfast," and people who follow Chinese New Year traditions don't want to start the year "poor."

2. Married daughters are discouraged from visiting their parents' homes

Chinese superstition believes that a married daughter who visits her parents on Lunar New Year will bring bad luck and economic hardship to the family. Traditionally, a married daughter will only be allowed to visit her parents on the second day of the Chinese New Year.

3. Don't visit hospitals and avoid taking medicine

It is believed that visiting hospitals during Chinese New Year will make a person sick for the rest of the year, and taking medicine on the first day of the lunar year will leave one ill for the rest of it.

4. Keep children from crying

The sound of a child's cry will bring bad luck to the family, according to the superstition, so make sure the kids are extra happy during Chinese New Year.

5. Avoid borrowing or lending money

Tradition urges those who have debts to settle all their affairs by Lunar New Year as it is considered bad luck to enter another year with debts. Likewise, lending money is also discouraged during this time.

6. No killing

Avoid killing chickens, ducks, pigs or any other animal during the 15-day celebration of the Lunar New Year as blood is seen as a bad omen. Blood is believed to bring misfortune to those who kill during these days. Best to be wary and plan ahead.

7. Refrain from wearing white or black clothes

Black or white clothes are considered colors for mourning so tradition encourages wearing bright, happy colors.

8. Take extra care of things in the house

Breaking tools or any equipment during the Chinese New Year is regarded as an omen that one will lose their wealth all year-round, which is why many people go to extraordinary lengths to make sure nothing ends up getting broken in their household.

9. Don't wash clothes and hair

Shuishen, the Water God, celebrates his birthday on the first two days of Lunar New Year, so people typically avoid washing their clothes during this time.

According to CNN, washing or cutting hair is viewed as washing or cutting fortune away as the Chinese character for hair is the same first character in the word for prosper.

10. Don't wear damaged clothes

Clothes with holes or are worn out should not be donned during Chinese New Year as they are believed to bring bad luck. Children should wear clean, decent clothes throughout the first lunar month to ensure that no misfortune comes their way.

11. Sweeping and taking out the garbage are risky

Sweeping on the day of the Chinese New Year is considered by many to be a way of "sweeping" wealth away. Taking out the garbage is also seen as a symbol of dumping good fortune and keeping good luck away from one's house.

12. Don't give clocks or scissors as gifts

In Chinese culture, these items are considered bad omens and should not be given as presents during the Lunar New Year.

Chinese New Year 2014
Traditional dancers perform the lion dance during the Chinese New Year at Ditan Park, also known as the Temple of Earth, in Beijing, Jan. 30, 2014. Reuters