What you should know about Chinese New Year

"Because my family owned a restaurant, we were always working when other people celebrated".

Nevertheless, by Thursday afternoon, downtown Beijing was completely quiet, unlike in previous years, when fireworks sounded day and night during the week-long holiday.

"Happy New Year 2018", the singers captioned a group photo on Facebook.

Patrick Noakes, Managing Director at Victoria Gate Casino, said: "We're so proud to be the official sponsor of the Chinese New Year Festival 2018 here in Leeds".

The celebration, also known as Lunar New Year, revolves heavily around symbolism and tradition of century's-old beliefs in many Asian countries. The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China.

Shoppers buy Mandarin oranges at a New Year market in Hong Kong. For children, the Spring Festival means more than a break from school and enjoying fireworks and traditional lion dances: they also receive red envelopes of "lucky money" from elders. What you can expect in Buddhist temples are lighting incense, trying special temple-made Chinese food, enjoying handsome lanterns and hearing some chanting.

CUAsia the times they are a-changing with a new generation wanting more from life than a corporate job
CUAsia the times they are a-changing with a new generation wanting more from life than a corporate job

Ethnic Chinese Thais burn joss sticks at the Leng Nuei Yee Chinese temple in Bangkok.

More Chinese are also travelling overseas during the holidays, with about 6.5 million people having booked trips to foreign countries.

While the entire New Year period is two weeks, most Chinese people go back to work on the eighth day. More traditionally, visitors can take part in the festivals in villages such as Pingxi, outside Taipei, by purchasing a paper lantern, making a wish and releasing it into the air.

Apart from food, watching "Chinese New Year Gala" which telecasts live on all the CCTV channels has also become a significant custom.

He added that, in Singapore, some indicators of Chinese New Year spending that give him signals for the health of the economy are the demand for gift baskets and hampers and the queues for bakkwa - a sweet barbecued pork jerky in Singapore which sells for about $38 (S$50) per kilogram, and gets more expensive the closer it gets to the actual holiday.

Vanessa Coleman