The Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar and so Chinese New Year falls on a different day every year (calling it Chinese New Year is actually inaccurate as many Asian cultures celebrate the Lunar New Year). This is the Year of the Horse, which is supposed to be a year of high energy.
Different parts of China and Taiwan have different customs, although growing up in Kansas meant that our celebration was somewhat limited. But there were still certain dishes that had to be part of the New Year celebration. Noodles were required, as the length of the noodles represented long life. Oranges were also part of the meal, as the word for orange (or, rather, tangerine) sounds like the word for prosperity or good fortune in Chinese. We also often had dumplings (which are shaped like the gold coins from the Yuan Dynasty) and duck (because we like to eat duck).
We also lit incense to our ancestors, who had their pictures set out amongst bowls of oranges and other food. Children were given red envelopes containing money. Red is the color of celebration in China (traditionally, Chinese brides wore red as their wedding dress).
But, overall, New Year’s for us is what it is across many cultures. An opportunity for family and friends to get together and celebrate togetherness, good food, and family.
Happy New Year!!