Chinese New Year is the most significant of the traditional Chinese holidays. In China, it is also known as "Spring Festival".
The festival begins on the first day of the first month in the customary Chinese calendar and ends with The Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day of the month.
Since the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese new year is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year".
The basis of Chinese new year is centuries old and gains significance because of numerous myths and traditions.–Photos by Agencies
People look at decorations for the upcoming Chinese New Year of the Dragon in Shanghai on January 19, 2012. - AFP Photo
Fireworks light up the skyline of Beijing as residents celebrate the start of the Chinese new year January 23, 2012. The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on January 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac. - Reuters Photo
Visitors walk inside a Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and museum ahead of the Lunar New Year in Singapore on January 20, 2012. - AFP Photo
A worker arranges large joss sticks in preparation for Chinese New Year celebrations in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia. - AP Photo
Indonesian ethnic Chinese hold a lantern together before releasing it to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia. - AP Photo
A man prays inside the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and museum ahead of the Lunar New Year in Singapore on January 20, 2012. - AFP Photo
People inspect decorations ahead of the Lunar New Year at China town in Bangkok. - AFP Photo
Customers walk through the hall of a local shopping mall beneath red lanterns put up as Spring Festival decorations in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. - Reuters Photo
Customers look at flowers for sale at a lunar new year market in Hong Kong on January 22, 2012. The Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays, flowers are said to give good luck and are given when visiting family for the traditional New Years Eve feast. - AFP Photo
Performers wearing traditional costumes take part in a lion dance during the opening of the temple fair at Ditan Park, also known as the Temple of Earth, in Beijing January 22, 2012. - Reuters Photo
A man holds incense sticks as part of Chinese new year celebrations at the Old City God Temple in Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai January 22, 2012. - Reuters Photo
People perform the traditional Chinese dragon dance during Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinatown in Mexico City January 21, 2012. - Reuters Photo
Actors dressed in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) costumes take part in the heaven-worshipping ceremony, in which people pray for good harvest and fortune, to celebrate the first day of the Chinese lunar new year, at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, January 23, 2012. The Lunar new year, or Spring Festival, begins on January 23 and marks the start of the year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac. - Reuters Photo
A worker inspects a dragon lantern decoration made from recycled materials and energy-saving LED lights at the Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen temple in Jenjarom, some 50 kilometres Southwest of Kuala Lumpur. - AFP Photo
Malaysians of ethnic Chinese descent perform tai chi exercises underneath lanterns at Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur. - Reuters Photo