Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in the Chinese culture. It is sometimes called the Lunar New Year. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival and falls on February 3rd 2011. It is also the year of the Rabbit.
Red envelopes or red packets are passed out during Chinese New Year celebrations from married couples or the elderly to children. The red envelopes contain money varying from a few dollars to hundreds. However the amount given in the envelope is always of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given at funerals. Within the Chinese culture, the number 4 is considered bad luck and the money in the envelope should never add up to 4. The number 8 is considered good luck, and most often 8 dollars is found in the envelopes.
The Chinese New Year celebrations are marked by visiting friends and relatives and new clothing is worn to signify a new year. The colour red is used in all decorations. The last day of the New Year, the fifteenth day, is celebrated with a Lantern Festival, where families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns. This marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.