Today is the first day of the lunar year in the Chinese calendar. The nomenclature of the years is based on a sixty year cycle of five elements and twelve creatures. This will be the year of the water dragon. This is the third festival in a run, following Diwali in October and Christmas in December.

Like the Indian, but unlike the Gregorian calendar which is solar and the Islamic calendar which is lunar, the Chinese calendar is lunisolar. The solar New Year falls at December 21st, the winter solstice. The twelve months of the lunar calendar are anchored to the solar calendar because the winter solstice always falls in the 11th month of the lunar year. The 1st month of the lunar calendar will therefore start sometime between January 21st and February 21st, depending on which date in the 11th month the winter solstice occurs.