Chinese New Year
Fireworks are seen exploding over Victoria Harbour during Lunar New Year celebrations in Hong Kong on Feb. 9, 2016. Getty Images

China will hold a massive celebration starting Feb 16, 2018, acknowledging its New Year, paying homage to the Year of the Dog, according to the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac calendar. Each Chinese zodiac year starts on the New Year’s Day.

The festivities, also referred to as the Spring Festival in modern China, last 23 days. The celebration begins on the evening preceding the first day and runs to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. Chinese New Year can fall between the months of January and February.

Many consider Spring Festival the country’s most important celebration. The festival is centuries old, rooted in beliefs and customs. It initially honored Chinse ancestors and deities. The festival is celebrated in places with large Chinese populations including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mauritius, Australia, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan.

Solidarity is a big part of the celebration as Chinese families usually gather on the evening of New Year's Day for a reunion dinner. Many people clean their homes during the Spring Festival. Some mount red posters with inspirational words to their front doors and hang Chinese New Year images on their walls and place decorative lanterns throughout.

During the evening of the Spring Festival Eve, people celebrate by setting off fireworks and firecrackers to ward off bad luck, hoping to welcome good fortune instead. Many exchange New Year’s greetings, while children receive "luck" money. Traditional activities include beating drums, gong striking and lion and dragons dances.

The Spring Festival is observed as a national holiday in China. Schools, government facilities, and most companies are closed from the Spring Festival Eve to the seventh day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar to honor the New Year.