Gong Hee Fot Choy – for Mandarin
Kung Hei Fat Choi – for Cantonese
Chinese New Year - often called Chinese Lunar New Year although it actually is lunisolar - is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. Despite its winter occurrence, in China it is known as "Spring Festival," the literal translation of the Chinese name 春节, owing to the difference between Western and traditional Chinese methods for computing the seasons.
The start of Chinese New Year changes every year since it is dictated by the lunar calendar. The Gregorian or solar calendar--which is based on the Earth's movement around the sun and has a fixed number of 365 days a year (366 during a leap year)--is the most widely used calendar system in the world and has been the official calendar used in China since 1912.
But in China the lunar calendar is still used to determine traditional holidays like Chinese New Year. Since the lunar calendar is based on the phases of the moon-- which has a shorter cycle than the sun--Chinese New Year is never on the same day each year, but typically falls somewhere between January 21st and February 20th.
The festival begins on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day. Chinese New Year's Eve, a day where Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner, is known as Chú Xī (除夕) or "Eve of the Passing Year."