Lunar New Year celebrations have existed for 2,500 years since the time of
the Chinese philosopher Confucius. Today, they continue to be an important
element of Chinese culture.
On New Year's Day, all stores and businesses close down. The time is reserved for immediate family and devoted to feasting. Women cook traditional foods, including fish - a symbol for abundance and the granting of wishes. Water is another important symbol in the feast - a source of life and a symbol of wealth.
On the second day of New Year celebrations, married women visit their parental homes with their husbands and children. On the fifth day - the day of the god of wealth - commercial life returns as shops and business reopen.
Celebrations end with the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day - with the first full moon of the year. Colourful lanterns, often in the form of the appropriate zodiac creatures, are displayed and festive parades complete with dancing lions and dragons pour through the streets.
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