Chinese New Year or people often call it Spring Festival is the most important traditional festival in China. Usually family members will get together during this festival. People will go back to their hometowns to see their families. It is common that someone working far away from his hometown will spend the whole money he has been saving the whole year only to visit his family back in the hometown.
Just like Western people celebrate Christmas and New Year, Spring Festival is the most popular celebration in China. If people in Western countries are celebrating Christmas by decorating Christmas tree and giving away Christmas gifts, people in China are celebrating Spring Festival by decorating orange tree (yes, orange tree! Look at the picture), decorating houses with paper cutting and Chinese knot ornaments. There are also a lot of fire crackers and fireworks everywhere, especially during the New Year eve.
Some special food to celebrate Spring Festivals are Chinese dumpling (or bao zi) for people living in Northern China, and rice cake (nian gao) for people living in Southern China. Well, other than these two special foods, of course there are many other delicious foods served for this special holiday.
Younger people will give respect to the older people. Children will be given some red envelops or 'hong bao' filled in with some money. Many households are cooking special food to celebrate this important event.
There is a legend about Chinese New Year that becomes the background of Spring Festival celebration: Long time ago people believed that every Chinese New Year eve, there will be an evil called 'Nian' who would go out to eat people. People were very scared of it. Somehow people found out that 'Nian’ was afraid of hearing loud sounds and looking at red color. Therefore people in China use lots of red ornaments to decorate their homes and have fire crackers during Chinese New Year.