Oranges must be found on the table. We beleive they bring good luck and prosperity. Everything is in red theme, from decorations to the outfits. Wearing red color makes a good beginning of the year.
This year is the year of rabbit. The Chinese zodiac signs change each year and they're 12 in total. The signs have animals as symbols. Who are born in this year have the rabbit as zodiac sign. (I'm a dragon!)
Another thing I miss is dancing lions and dragons. The dancers wear masks. There's a type of long costume worn by more than one person. They dance along the streets with an orchestra composed by Chinese instruments. People drop cabbages into lion's and dragon's mouth and give red envelopes of money as a tip to dancers. When I was a child, my mom let us (me, sister and brother) wait at the terrace of the top of the house (it has 3 storeys). When the lion and dragon arrived, they saw us on the top so they climbed up to reach us. (The dancers are acrobats.) Small kids sometimes are afraid of them but bigger kids enjoy giving cabbages and tips very much.
Yet, kids are very happy when they go to meet relatives because they receive red envelops with money from adult relatives too. I remember that after the Chinese New Year's Day, at school children didn't talk about anything else, but how much they got in total. Classmates who were non-Chinese origin felt a bit envious towards the Chinese ones.
Before leaving, I'd like to wish my followers, Chinese or not, much happiness and luck in the rabbit year!
Happy Chinese New Year 2011!