The Lunar, or Chinese New Year, falls on Feb. 12 this year and begins a 15-day celebration in countries throughout East Asia. This year is the Year of the Ox. The lucky colors for the Year of the Ox are white, yellow and green.
The Chinese New Year, which falls on the first full moon after the winter solstice, marks the end of the winter season and the approach of the spring season, when people honor deities and remember ancestors.
On the night before the Lunar New Year, Chinese families get together to celebrate with the annual reunion dinner. Custom dictates that people thoroughly clean their homes to sweep away the previous year's misfortune and usher in good luck and prosperity for the coming year.
Other customs include decorating windows, hanging red lanterns, lighting firecrackers, taking a family portrait and giving money in red envelopes. For good luck, people sleep with the red envelopes under their pillows for seven nights before they open them. In the northern regions, people eat dumplings on the first day of the Lunar New Year, according to online sources.
Plum blossoms, sunflowers, narcissus, bamboo and eggplant are some of the popular plants used for floral decorations during the Lunar New Year celebrations.
Under usual circumstances, many cities in North America, including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Toronto and Vancouver, host Lunar New Year parades.