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  • Worshippers burn incense and pray at Wong Tai Sin Temple on the first day of Lunar New Year holiday on February 18, 2015 in Hong Kong (Getty Images AsiaPac)Source: Getty Images AsiaPac
As the world gears up to celebrate the year of the dog, here are 12 fast facts you might not know about one of the biggest annual celebrations from around the globe.
By
Ildiko Dauda

16 Jan 2018 - 3:55 PM  UPDATED 12 Feb 2018 - 12:02 PM

1. Lunar New Year is celebrated around the world by a total of approximately 1.5 billion people

It’s symbolic of letting go of the past and welcoming new beginnings.

It's also a popular excuse for spring cleaning!
 

2. It's the world's biggest annual detonation of fireworks

No single hour in any other country sees as many tons of fireworks lit as in China at midnight on Lunar New Year.

The Fireworks are used to scare evil spirits. 

Show off your 'Dog of the Year' for a chance to win this Lunar New Year
This 'Year of the Dog,' is your pooch actually the dog of the year? To celebrate Lunar New Year, SBS is giving you the chance to chance to WIN a $500 Westfield or Petbarn voucher - just send in pictures of your precious pooch to show us how great they really are to be in the running.
 

3. It falls on a different date every year

The start of Lunar New Year varies each year depending on the phases of the moon. While the date changes every year, it usually begins between January 21 and February 10.
 

4. The Lion dance is a traditional feature

The traditional Lion dance is performed at Lunar New Year festivals for good luck. The origin of the dance is hotly debated. But records show that it was already a feature of Chinese culture in the 2nd century.

 

5. It spans 15 days

Lunar New Year lands on the first day of the lunar month and continues for 15 days, until the moon is full.

Each day has a particular role, such as visiting family on one day or eating certain foods on another.

 

6. It dates back 4,000 years

The Lunar New Year is the most important and longest celebration in the traditional East Asian Lunar calendar. It’s been celebrated for more than 4,000 years.

At midnight, family members open doors and windows to let out the old year and invite good luck and fortune for the year ahead.

 

7. It's all about painting the town red

The colour red holds a significant place in Lunar New Year celebrations. People wear red clothes, they decorate poems on red paper, and they give children “lucky” money in red envelopes.

 

8. Each year is symbolised by a different animal

Each year  of the Chinese zodiac's 12-year cycle is named after an animal.

The 12 animals are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

2017 is the Year of the Rooster.

 

9. It's also partytime for pooches

An old belief says that the second day of the Lunar New Year is the birthday of every dog in the world.

So, on that day - be extra kind to your dog!

 

10. It's a good time for a makeover

Before the Lunar New Year, it’s common for people to buy new clothes or even get a new haircut. It’s all about making a fresh start.

 

11. There are Lanterns EVERYWHERE (for a reason)

Lunar New Year ends with the lantern festival on the 15th day of the celebration?

The lanterns are believed to light the way for the New Year. They’re also associated with guiding lost or mischievous spirits home.

 

12. Lunar New Year goes BIG Downunder

Sydney claims that its Lunar New Year celebrations are the biggest in the southern Hemisphere outside of Asia. 

The tradition was widely celebrated by Chinese gold miners during Australia’s 1860’s Gold Rush.

This 'Year of the Dog,' is your pooch actually the 'dog of the year'? To celebrate Lunar New Year, SBS is giving you the chance to chance to WIN a $500 Westfield or Petbarn voucher. Details below:

Show off your 'Dog of the Year' for a chance to win this Lunar New Year
This 'Year of the Dog,' is your pooch actually the dog of the year? To celebrate Lunar New Year, SBS is giving you the chance to chance to WIN a $500 Westfield or Petbarn voucher - just send in pictures of your precious pooch to show us how great they really are to be in the running.