Chinese New Year means a spending spree across East Asia

Dragon dancers help Santa Monica celebratethe Lunar New Year

Last week, a report from the China Tourism Academy and Ctrip said they expected the number of outbound Chinese travelers this year to reach a new record of 6.5 million.

The date of the new year is determined by the lunar/ solar calendar, so the date of the holiday varies from late January to mid-February. However, the Lunar New Year actually begins this weekend and locals have another chance to restart their year.

"We have a whole host of activities and events planned to ring in the "Year of the Dog" including a traditional Lion Dance, an authentic and delicious Chinese buffet, and special prize draws with incredible prizes".

If you're in debt, it would be a good time to pay people off and settle the score before New Year's Day.

It's customary to give out "lai see" or red packets during the celebrations, though this only applies to married people.

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Netanyahu has not denied receiving the gifts but said that they were a token of friendship from Milchan. In all, the merchandise was worth more than one million shekels ($A392,000), the statement said.

Whatever the case may be, there are huge numbers of people for whom these zodiac signs - and the wider traditions surrounding them - are of enormous importance.

The state railway operator reported on Monday that 98.8 million people rode trains countrywide during the first 12 days of February.

Globally, Chinese New Year is celebrated by a quarter of the world's population.

Later on Thursday, Malaysians are set to celebrate with firework displays and their famous lion dance. Certain dishes are eaten for their symbolic meaning and some are part of traditions going back thousands of years.

"It's a gift giving, but it's also a show of prosperity".

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Yin Xiaowei, a 48-year-old housekeeper originally from northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, is one of those who chose to stay in Beijing.

Dumplings are always served on New Year's Eve, especially in the north, as they represent the transition from the old year to the new.

Noodles, due to their length, are playfully said to signify a long life.

The most common savoury version is loh bok goh, made with grated white radish, rice flour and dried mushrooms, Chinese sausage and dried shrimp. Known as 'Good Fortune Fruit, ' oranges are eaten during Chinese New Year to bring fullness and wealth.

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