Sometimes called the Spring Festival, it is one of the most important traditional Chinese holidays. It is also called the Lunar New Year, especially by people outside of China.
The festival begins on the first day of the first lunar month of the Chinese calendar, that is today, and ends with a Lantern Festival on the 15th day.
Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, it is considered the most important holiday for the Chinese. It had influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction.
In Malaysia, it is a 2-day holiday and the ethnic Chinese here celebrate it in a big way. There will be open houses and food and Chinese New Year cookies and other goodies will be served to relatives and friends who come avisiting.
The elders will give out red packets of money, or "ang pows" to the younger ones who are not yet married. Inmates of old folks' homes and children's homes will also receive food, "ang pows" and mandarin oranges. It is a time of great rejoicing.