Chinese New Year festivities begin this Friday 31 January – find out all you need to know about this holiday and where to celebrate it!

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year as it is determined by the lunar calendar, is a celebration lasting 15 days (this year, it will finish on Valentine’s Day), making it the longest lasting festival in the Chinese calendar.

Traditionally, Chinese New Year holds great significance due to the varying myths and traditions associated with bringing in the New Year This includes having a New Year’s Eve dinner to bring family together before the start of another year, cleaning the house to sweep away ill fortune and make room for incoming good luck, and gifting red packets (red envelopes containing money) to young people to suppress evil and encourage healthy, long lives.

This will be the Year of the Wooden Horse, a time of fast victories and adventure – a great year for travel, since energy and productivity is high. In Chinese astrology, Horse year is considered a lucky year that brings good fortune, power and strength, so prepare for a fiery year filled with galloping after new thrills!

How to celebrate Lunar New Year…

1. Chinese Lunar New Year Festival, Fortitude Valley

This Friday, China Town Mall in the Valley will be alive with market stalls, performances and firecrackers! Lasting three days, you can submerge yourself in Chinese culture and welcome in the Lunar New Year with authentic food, Lion dances and Kung Fu performances. Book a table for yumcha with the family at Valley favourite King of Kings, browse the New Year markets, and chase away evil spirits with the fiery festivities to bring good fortune and wealth into your life in 2014.

2. Chinese New Year at Peng You China Kitchen and Bar, Newstead

Over two nights Peng You China Kitchen and Bar at Gasworks in Newstead will be hosting a feast to celebrate Lunar New Year, complete with dancing Lion performers. Dishes on offer include jellyfish, spiced tofu salads and crispy roast pork belly, so avoid the crowds in the Valley and bring in the Chinese New Year with delicious Chinese cuisine and fun performances.

3. Sunnybank Plaza Celebrations, Sunnybank

Sunnybank Plaza explodes with a bonanza of Chinese-themed festivities from Wednesday to Sunday to bring in the New Year. With Tai Chi and calligraphy demonstrations, traditional costuming, feng shui consultations, dough modelling and noodle making, Ju Percussion performances, Horse Mask workshops and Lion Dances, there will be so much to do you might not have time to fit in a scrumptious meal at one of the great Chinese restaurants in the area!

4. BrisAsia Festival, Brisbane City

Featuring a range of traditional and contemporary Asian cultural events and programs, there’s something for everyone at the BrisAsia Festival. From fan dances to Martial Arts demonstrations, cosplay and AsianPop events to author meet and greets, 31 January to 1 March will be a whirlwind celebration of Asian cultures, so check out one of the many events!

5. Can’t get out to a festival around Brisbane? Why not celebrate at home…

Do a big ‘spring clean’ before inviting friends and family around for a banquet to bring in the New Year! Serve fish and dumplings to invite goodwill and wealth (the Chinese word for fish is a homonym for surplus, and dumplings resemble purses full of gifts), decorate with red to scare off evil spirits and even rent a boyfriend from Chinese online retailer Taobao to avoid pesky interrogation from relatives, as young women are now doing in China!

How will you be celebrating Chinese New Year this weekend? Let us know!