In less than five days, China will begin celebrating its New Year Jan. 28 and usher in the year of the rooster, leaving behind the year of the monkey. The celebrations of the New Year, which is also known as the Spring Festival, will last for 15 days.

The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in the country and is connected to the lunar-solar Chinese calendar. The year of the rooster is believed to be significant for those born in 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969 and so on.

Even though China adopted the Gregorian calendar — widely used in the West — in 1912, the country continues to observe the traditional Chinese New Year. It is a national holiday in China during the Spring Festival and government offices, schools, universities and many companies often remain close during the period between the Spring Festival Eve and the seventh day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar. However, certain companies allow employees to work on shift basis. Public transport is available during the Chinese New Year celebration period.

To welcome the Chinese New Year, people clean their homes and adorn their doors with red posters containing poetic verses. They also put Chinese New Year pictures on their walls and decorate their homes with red lanterns.

This time of the year is also is the time to reunite with families for many Chinese. On the Spring Festival Eve, people burst firecrackers believing they would cast away any bad luck and bring in good luck. Children often receive “luck” money and several people dress up in new clothes. Chinese New Year greetings are sent across during the celebrations.